What Is An SQL (Sales-Qualified Lead)?
A Sales-Qualified Lead, or SQL, is a potential customer that demonstrates an interest in purchasing your company’s offering, and has met the criteria for fit established by your sales team. SQLs are typically further along the buyer’s journey than MQLs.
What Makes Someone a SQL?
Let’s take the following scenario:
Your marketing team has been communicating with a prospect for a while, sharing information about alleviating their pain points and building the relationship. Believing that this potential customer is ready to convert, they connect them with a member of the sales team.
However, even though they’ve become a MQL and are in a scenario where they can purchase, they may not have the ability to, or their needs may not be met by what your company is offering.
Further examination of the prospect by the sales team is vital to ensure that they don’t wind up selling a company something that they don’t need or can’t use.
BANT: A common framework to qualify leads
- Budget: How much does the potential customer have to spend, and how much are they willing to spend?
- Authority: Is this specific prospect the person with decision-making power in their organization?
- Need: Does your company’s offering address specific pain points or problems the potential customer is facing?
- Timeframe: Does a solution need to be implemented by a specific time?
While BANT isn’t perfect, the answers to these types of questions allow sales teams to determine whether a potential customer is a good fit for your company’s solution.
Some companies may also include other benchmarks, such as if a prospect is already using another company’s offering, or if they have a similar profile to customers who have already converted.
Preparing for the Call
While vetting a potential customer as an SQL is a big part of the sales process, it’s not where the process ends.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of closing during your next sales call:
1. Understand the specific customer journey.
What pages on your website did the prospect visit? What content did they download? Have they previously asked any questions? By following their path through the sales funnel, you can gain insights to use on your call and provide immediate value.
2. Learn about the person.
Completely remove any existing relationship from the equation. Who is the person you’ll be speaking with, and what can you find out about who they are to build trust? Pull information from your CRM, look them up on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and plug their name into a search engine. If you can get a sense of who the person behind the role is, you’ll be able to build trust much more efficiently.
3. Remember to make it all about them.
A call should always be about the problem that the potential customer is facing and how you can help them, not about what your company has to sell. The more time you spend asking questions, the better you’ll be at identifying the problem that is causing their pain points.
4. Make the call less definitive.
So the prospect has decided to close, you thank them, and that’s it. The sales process has ended abruptly, like a car crashing into a wall. Continue communicating with your customers, because the process isn’t over until the problem’s been solved.