As we discussed in our earlier post, leads are the bread and butter for sales teams around the world. Just like you’d throw out a loaf of moldy bread that’s been sitting in your refrigerator for weeks, clearing out those low quality leads in your CRM is going to do your sales productivity a whole new level of good.
As technology progresses, quality becomes an increasingly integral characteristic ascribed to all occurrences within the world we live in. Much like everything else in this world, leads can also be qualitatively quantified, determining its value to a sales team. This will help salespeople understand which leads are worth pursuing and which ones are not.
Many will agree that the BANT qualification system should be your go-to when you’re sifting out the low quality leads in your CRM. And they’re right as well—the BANT methodology (created in the 1950s) is still one of the most efficient ways to segment your leads based on their likelihood to purchase your product. But just like any other 70 year old process, the BANT methodology is also in dire need of an upgrade. Couple the BANT qualification process with Sales Intelligence and you’ve got an incisive weapon that delivers the precision required by modern businesses.
In our digital-first world, salespeople no longer need to manually look at their CRM and qualify leads; there are ways in which you can automate this by using insights on your prospect’s company, decision-making authority, and level of urgency. This post will tell you all you need to know about using sales intelligence to automate your lead qualification right on your CRM..
Qualifying Leads Using BANT + Sales Intelligence
The following is a step-by-step checklist that follows our data-adapted version of the popular BANT qualification formula which determines lead quality on the basis of four factors — Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. Our iteration of the BANT qualification formula is reinforced using a variety of variables including firmographics, technographics, keyword intent, and other indicators that allow you to assess lead quality with greater accuracy.
While you can do this manually, the best way to go about it is by integrating your CRM with a sales intelligence software like Slintel before you move forward in this process. Doing this will ensure that the leads on your CRM are automatically enriched with these insights, and once this is done, you can set up workflows that will assign a BANT qualification score to your leads and rank them in order of your sales priority.
Budget is the first criteria that will determine whether your lead is worth pursuing or not. If a business doesn’t have the budget to afford your product or service, it’s obvious that any amount of sales efforts won’t result in a purchase. There are a variety of factors that can go into determining the budget a business has allocated towards acquiring new technology.
Firmographic factors including size and performance indicators such as revenue, balance sheets, financial statements and financial ratios can provide insights into whether/how much a business is willing to spend on your product. You can get a better understanding of firmographics with the help of these examples.
Technology stacks and buying patterns of businesses are insightful indicators that can tell you whether a lead can afford your product. For example, if a company’s technology stack or buying patterns indicate a history of buying tools or software that are similar in pricing and/or functionality to yours, there’s a good chance they might be willing to buy your product as well.
3. Company News
Company news is another good indicator of budget as it can determine the current spending power of a company. A business that has recently been funded or acquired will possess an increased spending power which is very good news for sales teams. Targeting relevant businesses that have recently been funded or acquired is a good strategy to improve your conversion rates.
When prospecting, you wouldn’t want to target low level employees in a company that do not have the necessary influence on business purchase decisions. Targeting the wrong prospects within a company could make you miss out on a sizable inflow of revenue. This is why it’s essential that you target decision makers such as CEOs, Directors of Marketing or Sales, or anyone within the organization that has the authority to influence the buying decisions of a company.
Of course, there’s no one size fits all solution to this—your ICP and target persona will differ according to the product you’re selling. However, you can make sure that you aren’t wasting too much time on promoting your product to interns or associates that can’t make a purchase decision even if they like your software.
The following are a few indicators that can determine a lead’s need for your product or service:
1. Keyword Intent
Prior to the purchase of any product or service, there exists some level of intent demonstrated by a buyer towards that particular product or service. Keyword intent is one such indicator that can help you determine a lead’s intention or need for your product. Users that have searched for keywords pertaining to your product, competitor products and their keyword neighborhoods possess a greater propensity towards purchasing your product. Using keyword intent to prospect is a great way to target high-intent buyers that are actively searching for a product like yours.
Technographic data such as contract renewals, relevant digital footprints, tech stacks and buying patterns can help you determine a lead’s need for your product with a good amount of certainty.
Contact renewal dates are a precise indicator that signify an active need for your product. Let’s say a lead’s contract for a competitor’s product is set to expire soon. You now know that this lead is not only accustomed to using a product like yours but is also in a situation where they can be convinced to switch to your tool if provided with the right conviction to do so.
Tech stacks are another great indicator of assessing a lead’s need for your product — if your lead has tools in their technology stack that integrates with or compliments your tool, they’re more likely to have a need for it.
Lastly, if a lead’s digital footprints and buying patterns signify that they are looking to expand their tech stack to include more integrating or complimentary tools, it’s a big green signal for your sales team.
In sales, timing can be everything. Your success in sales depends on how you seize momentary windows of opportunity that require you to be at the right place at the right time, using the right information to make a sale. You can use the following tools to create a rough assessment of when a prospect is likely to buy your product before segmenting them into buckets.
1. Thematic Analysis
Thematic analysis helps aggregate the various themes across different sales and marketing efforts of a business including the needs of each team, their campaigns and the keywords they use. This will help you get a better understanding of where their priorities lie, giving you a rough idea of which bucket to place them in.
Technographic data such as contract renewals, tech stacks, digital footprints and buying patterns will serve as a good indication for determining which lead should go into which bucket.
Firmographic data such as company news, size and performance indicators such as revenue, balance sheets, financial statements and financial ratios will further help you finalize your bucketing decisions.
Once you’ve assessed these variables you can now bucket your leads into hot, warm and cold leads based on the amount of time required to have them purchase your product.
Does your CRM lead look like this?
Another key factor that will help improve your sales productivity is ensuring that your leads are well documented in your CRM. To get a better understanding on how your CRM leads should be documented and organized check out this small guide.
Tools That Can Do This For You
Using our stepwise BANT qualification method to evaluate lead quality will help make your sales efforts a lot more productive by allowing you to focus your sales efforts on leads with a high propensity to buy your product. However, the main drawback of manually conducting the BANT lead quality evaluation procedure is that it can be extremely time consuming.
For these reasons, we’ve built a tool like Slintel that provides everything from thematic analysis, technographics, firmographics, live company updates, keyword intent and other important buying intent data. Slintel will help you slice the amount of time taken to filter out prospects, reach out to them and get them to buy your product, in a fraction of the amount of time you usually take.
With all the information you’ll ever need available from the convenience of a single platform or your CRM (via integrations), you can target high-intent leads using the right data and create hyper-personalized messaging that will help you close a lot more deals in a lot less time.