We all know that the more leads you generate, the better. And while any lead is better than no lead, that doesn’t mean that all leads are equally likely to purchase. Knowing exactly who your best potential clients are can eliminate a lot of work for your sales team later on. It can also help you reduce the amount of time and effort that you spend on leads who aren’t likely to convert.

The buyer’s journey can look a lot different for different people, but at the end of the day, there are two main paths that someone can take: the path to purchase, and the path to nowhere. Figuring out ahead of time who’s going in which direction is a great way to streamline your sales process — and your marketing initiatives. So how do you do it? Here are some tips on how to identify your best potential clients so you can better qualify leads and save your resources for where it really counts.

What Is a Qualified Lead?

A qualified lead is a prospect who has been pre-determined by the marketing team to be a likely customer prior to being handed off to sales. This determination comes from things the lead tells you or suggests with their behavior, as well as the best practice tips outlined below.

The qualifying process can usually be summed up by BANT:

  • Does the lead’s Budget align with your price point?
  • Do they have the Authority within their organization to make a purchase?
  • Do they have a Need for your product or service?
  • Does their Timeline suggest that they’re serious about buying?

If the answer is yes to all counts, you’ve got yourself a qualified lead.

Qualifying your leads is a time-saving process, but it does require a bit of work on your end. The following three tips can help you do it faster and more efficiently so you can turn your attention to other key areas (you know, like finding those qualified leads in the first place).

Tip #1: Look At Your Current Clients

Work backward at figuring out what a qualified lead looks like by determining what sorts of things define your current clients. Every client was once a qualified lead themselves, so you’re guaranteed to learn something by examining the patterns among them. From there, you can build a qualified customer persona with the traits and behaviors associated with your precise lead pool.

To start, look at your most successful clients — i.e., the ones you’ve had the longest. These are the happiest clients with your product or service, and who represent the types of clients you want to attract. Ask yourself what they have in common, including their industry, goals, and the things they’re doing to ensure success. All of these things can provide hints about what your most qualified leads look like.

Tip #2: Use Marketing Automation Software

Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that would qualify your leads for you? Well, you can!

Marketing automation software helps you establish criteria for your leads so that they’re automatically qualified based on certain demographics or behaviors. This is why getting your qualified customer persona right is so key: the more specific you can be when setting the criteria, the better your automation software will be at parsing them out. Really zero in on things like behaviors, industries, regions, demographics, company size, and so on, then sit back and let your software do the hard work for you.

Tip #3: Talk To Your Sales Team

Your sales team is a fantastic resource for figuring out who makes a qualified lead. After all, they see firsthand who’s coming through the pipeline and where their journeys end up.

Sit down with sales and ask some pointed questions to get at the heart of what a qualified lead looks like from their perspective. What kinds of companies and people do they have the most productive conversations with? What knowledge level are qualified leads at when it comes to your industry, your product or service, and related software?

This exercise achieves a couple of different things for you. For starters, it gives you a ton of information that you can then turn around and use when qualifying leads. It can also be immensely helpful when it comes to creating sales enablement content and other sorts of marketing materials geared at addressing the interests and pain points of your most qualified prospects.

Great leads are out there, and there’s a ton of benefit in spotting  them early on. Follow the tips above to get a leg up on the lead qualifying process and send the best potential clients to your sales reps. In the team effort that is sales success, it’s an excellent way to do your part.