What does sales lead qualification have in common with hospitals?
Triage means deciding which patients get prioritized based on their wounds, available resources, and their likelihood of survival.
The emergency room of any hospital is a high-pressure environment. ER professionals can’t afford to treat everybody at the same time because not all patients suffer equally, medical supplies are finite, and time is of the essence.
Doctors, nurses, and paramedics know that it’s important to give care to those who need it most.
It’s no different with sales.
Just like in the ER, sellers deal with a lot of pressure: new product launches, lead generation [quotas], sales prospecting timelines, competing brands, economic market pressures, and good old market inertia.
Because of this, sellers have to prioritize their time and resources. They can’t tend to every sales lead that comes their way as this would deplete their resources quickly.
Using our earlier analogy, sellers are medical professionals and prospects are their patients. A sales team must choose which leads (‘patients’) to prioritize and which ones aren’t a good fit for their ‘medicine.’
Nurturing a sales qualified lead increases the chances of making a sale and improves the quality of your sales pipeline.
But asking the right qualifying questions to your ideal buyer persona is part of good sales management — and the qualification criteria you apply will depend on which lead qualification framework you use.
There are two common sales qualification frameworks a salesperson might use to qualify leads: BANT and MEDDIC. Let’s start with BANT.
What is the BANT sales qualification framework?
BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. It’s an easy way for sales reps qualifying prospects to determine good fit. BANT attempts to answer the following sales qualifying questions:
- Budget: How much can they spend on your solution?
- Authority: Who makes the final buying decision?
- Need: Which of their problem(s) can you solve?
- Timing: How soon do they need a solution?
With each question, BANT allows you to understand the prospect’s budget beyond the dollar amount and their internal buying processes to build your strongest pitch. Not only can you determine the severity of the problem, but you can also prepare a timeline for the sales process.
However, it’s important not to use BANT as an automated checklist dueing the sales qualification process. Used well, BANT can result in insightful conversations that unearth the prospect’s pains and ties their solution to your product.
Poorly used, however, BANT can quickly devolve into an interrogation that puts the prospect off or delivers unhelpful insights. This means that a sales rep should ask layered questions during the lead qualification process and dig deeper:
- There might be no urgency today, but what’s on their future roadmap that may call for your solution?
- It’s not just enough to find out their budget – how long do they have to spend that budget?
- Knowing the final buyer is key, but who else in the org do you need to convince?
BANT is a great all-round sales qualification framework, but for sellers targeting larger businesses, MEDDIC might be the answer.
What is the MEDDIC sales qualification framework?
MEDDIC is an advanced sales qualification framework for selling into enterprise orgs with more complex procurement processes.
MEDDIC stands for Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, Champion.
- Metrics: What metrics and KPIs does your enterprise prospect care about? Is saved costs, potential profits, or productivity improvements?
- Economic buyer: Who is the decision-maker within the company? How can you get them involved early in the buying process?
- Decision criteria: What does the prospect prioritize when buy new solutions? Do they care more about price, quality, features, customer support, or implementation times?
- Decision process: How does decision-making work internally at the prospect’s organization? Are there specific timelines, approval processes, and due diligence procedures to undertake? Without this information, your pitch won’t be aligned with how they choose new vendors.
- Identify pain: How is their business hurting? When and where do they experience it? How has this pain impacted their business or job performance? How could your solution help?
- Champion: Who are the internal advocates within your target company that can influence the buying decision in your favor?
Using the MEDDIC sales qualification framework helps your team prepare tailored pitches backed by the right champions within your target companies. The result? Higher sales efficiency, a shorter sales cycle, and more closed deals.
Use sales qualification to improve your sales process
With a better understanding of BANT and MEDDIC, you might be wondering which one to use and which would be more effective for your sales org.
As a general rule, if you’re selling to enterprise customers, MEDDIC is probably your best bet. For everyone else, BANT is a better choice.
Use the following questions to guide your framework selection process:
- Do we have a structured sales qualification process? Structure makes your sales process more predictable. You can quickly prioritize who to engage with and who to continue nurturing through sales enablement content.
- Is our lead scoring system accurate? Assessing the buying intent of inbound leads is a crucial aspect of sales qualification. A lead who’s just downloaded your e-book might not be as ready to buy as one who has requested a demo. An effective lead scoring process prevents you from chasing mirages and focuses your team’s efforts on the right prospects.
- How are we identifying champions in our target orgs? In larger orgs, you own’t get very far without an internal influencer championing your solution to the buying team. How are you currently finding, engaging, and enabling those champions to go to bat for you?
- Are we using the right tools to track our efforts? As you source and engage with prospects, it’s important to track all this sales activity somewhere central. Spreadsheets may work in the short term, but they don’t provide much context and can get pretty unintuitive as your prospect database grows larger. On the other hand, CRM software is a better option for businesses with larger sales teams that need more control over data formats, user access, automations, and task management.
Sales qualified prospect vs. Product qualified prospect vs. Marketing qualified prospect: What's the difference?
Businesses convert leads into prospects in different ways.
A sales qualified lead is a prospective customer who has shown genuine interest in moving forward with the sale. This can be through:
- Raising their hand to request a demo
- Asking to speak to a sales rep
A product qualified lead is a customer that has used your product before (typically through a free trial or a demo) and has experienced its value. You can determine a product qualified lead by assessing:
- Their time spent using your software
- Their team or company size
- Features used in your app
- Additional interactions like downloading content or contacting support
A marketing qualified lead is a potential customer who has indicated their interest in a product thanks to the efforts of the marketing team. They might have engaged with your brand by:
- Voluntarily submitting contact information
- Adding shopping items to their cart
- Opting into a program or course
- Visiting your website repeatedly
- Downloading resources
While sales reps can turn an inbound or outbound lead into a qualified sales opportunity, it’s a lot more important to spot disqualified leads as early as possible to conserve precious time and resources.
FreeAgent CRM software empowers your sales qualification efforts
With FreeAgent CRM, you get a versatile platform that lets you see, track, and engage with your hottest leads and prospects. That’s because FreeAgent CRM:
- Allows for effective contact management: Create, update, manage, and delete contacts from your database quickly and easily
- Enables sales engagement within the platform: Send and track your email campaigns and communications from right within FreeAgent
- Offers 360-degree context on each account: Unlike a spreadsheet that may need you to read data from different worksheets just to understand an account, FreeAgent CRM shows you your full customer view in one place. Power up your account management and learn everything about a customer from a single glance: their personal details, company, project, products bought, and email communication trends.
- Creates and tracks tasks for each rep: As you advance prospects through your sales funnel, you can create individual tasks for each rep tied to specific accounts – and track them all centrally.
- Generate useful reports for decision-making: Analytics are crucial to making informed business decisions. With FreeAgent CRM, you can set up and automate periodic reports to get a handle on your sales numbers.
- Integrate with other tools you use: You likely use a lot of business tools in your sales workflow. FreeAgent CRM can integrate with many of these tools – like your email, productivity, or sales tools – either natively or via Zapier (4000+ integrations). This lets you maintain your current workflow and pull all your work into one place.
Improve your sales qualification today by trying FreeAgent CRM for free.