Sales qualified lead (SQL): What is It and How is It Important?

Sales qualified leads are very important facets of every sales process. Lead generation and lead nurturing are two critical steps in any sales process. A well-executed marketing strategy is what generates these leads, but the fact of the matter is that not all leads are converted into paying customers. Thus, no time must be wasted when it comes to qualifying a lead as not all leads are created equal!

Due to the nature of their work, salespeople have a lot at their fingertips when it comes to their pipeline and their leads essentially fall into one of three categories: hot, warm, or cold. While all three kinds of leads have different qualities that make them important in the sales process (for example warm leads have been likely generated through a previous transaction whereas cold ones need additional nurturing during the initial contact), they can all be measured as Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) since they’re ideal for bringing in new business if you know how to leverage them properly.

This blog looks at SQL, how SQLs can be generated and some best practices to know when managing your leads.

What is a sales qualified lead?

49% of surveyed respondents said “sales qualified leads generated” is the most useful metric for measuring lead generation performance. Return on investment was second, with 40%; cost per lead was third, with 37%; sales closing rates were fourth, with 36%. (Ascend2)

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a lead that has been evaluated by a salesperson and found to be sufficiently qualified to be worth pursuing. Essentially, it’s a lead with a very high probability of purchasing your product.

The term “sales qualified lead” is most commonly used in B2B businesses. In B2C, the term “targeted lead” is more common.

The difference between these terms is small since a lead is always qualified by a salesperson, but it’s still important to define which term you’re using so that you always know what you’re discussing. A sales qualified lead is a lead that has been evaluated by a salesperson and found to be sufficiently qualified to be worth pursuing.

The highest-level lead a salesperson can obtain is SQL. It’s not guaranteed they’ll purchase, but their chances are higher than those from a sales accepted lead (SAL), marketing qualified lead (MQL), or a cold lead.

How to qualify leads quickly?

InsideSales.com states that if you follow up with online leads within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them.

You need to know if your leads are sales qualified first to set your sales goals and optimize your sales funnel.

SQLs must be qualified before you can sell to them. Lead qualification is a challenge without a “right answer.” However, there are some common tactics you can use.

  1. Direct communication is the first qualification method. It has pros and cons. If someone answers your questions and you’re asking them, they’re probably a great lead. However, direct questions might turn off a lead who is more comfortable with a less direct approach. You can decide if the qualification method is the right move for your sales team, depending on your target audience.

Take advantage of lead scoring:

68% of highly effective and efficient marketers are more likely than all other marketers to identify lead scoring based on content and engagement as one of their primary drivers of revenue contribution. (The Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups)

Leads are instead given points based on various factors, such as the industry they work in or their role within the company. The points are used to identify and rank leads. Choose the lead scoring method that best suits your selling style and your target audience.

The lead scoring model isn’t quite as personalized as the question format, but it’s easier to track when you’re trying to score a big number of leads. Having developed a model that works for your team, it’s time to set it up in your CRM so you’ll be notified when you have new SQL opportunities.

Using CRMs to qualify leads is a powerful strategy

A CRM system is believed by 84% of companies to be beneficial in determining the quality of leads. (Demand Metric Research Corporation)

Trust us on that – CRM software is an essential tool that every business must-have. Without it, your sales team wouldn’t be able to stay organized as well as efficiently manage their leads. They would probably waste valuable time chasing down new clients manually and in turn, end up spending too much energy on each lead which just isn’t feasible for them or your business!

A CRM such as DialDesk helps you to organize and quickly reach out to your leads within five minutes. The CRM will aid in making the behind-the-scenes work easier so that you can focus on what’s more important for your business, increasing sales and revenue!

When your sales and marketing teams can effectively communicate, collaborate, and work cooperatively you can easily identify potential SQLs (sales qualified leads) and close deals with ease. DialDesk makes working smarter easier for everyone involved in the sales and marketing processes by providing a central hub where all relevant company data related to leads is organized into one place.

Conclusion:

Before launching your next marketing campaign, be sure that you have a system in place to track sales-qualified leads.

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