This guest post was provided by SalesWings, a lead scoring and website tracking add-on.

Sales and marketing leaders: Did you know that, on average, only 27 percent of the leads coming in through inbound forms will be qualified? And of those that are qualified, only half are ready to buy? And what about the other 73 percent…? Without an effective lead qualification process, your sales reps are wasting time with leads who aren’t ready to buy, don’t have a real need for your solution, may not have the authority to make a purchase, or simply lack the budget needed to work with your company (or any combination of those). That’s a lot of wasted time and effort for a “hungry” sales rep. Not to mention that those reps might be missing out on spending time with a lot of potential qualified leads and future customers. Luckily, lead capture and lead scoring solutions can help you build a strong lead qualification system. But first, we’ll need to cover why lead qualification is such an important part of your sales process.

Effective Lead Qualification Starts With Web Forms that Ask the Right Questions

Of course, getting the benefits of qualifying leads requires utilizing strong web forms. This is also where marketing can assist in producing quality leads for sales. When marketing managers use a high-quality web form tool like FormAssembly, they can easily create and manage forms on their website for newsletter signups, content downloads, or even demo requests. You can usually also connect those forms directly to tools like Salesforce so that leads go right into your CRM.

To attract good leads, however, you need to make sure your form has a few specific elements. First, you need to have a clear call-to-action at the top of the form so that people know what they get when submitting. Second, the form should have a clean style that matches the brand on your website (otherwise, it will look strangely out of place). Finally, the form should not have too many fields, as that will deter people from filling it out. This is where contact data enrichment comes in handy; instead of trying to qualify a lead by asking them to fill out tons of information on a form, you can have less form fields and let the data enrichment feature fill in information that can be located on a social media profile. With a winning web form, you get the benefit of having higher conversions (more people will fill out the form) with better quality leads (less likelihood of spam).

Key Benefits of Establishing a Lead Qualification Process

For both marketing and sales teams, there are multiple benefits of qualifying leads. To start, lead qualification increases the effectiveness of your sales process by ensuring that people are focused on the best leads. You certainly don’t want sales to spend months working with a lead only to find out that the lead isn’t looking to make a purchase until the third quarter of next year, or that the lead’s company’s industry reveals that they don’t actually have a need for your solution in the first place.

Attracting the right leads is key to start with. This is achieved with a solid content strategy that follows the ground work of defining your ICP (ideal custom profile). With that in mind, you can invest smarter in AdWords, or leverage other technologies such as Leadsift which identifies well-fitted leads at the top of the funnel.

Marketing managers can then combine their lead nurturing (email marketing) efforts (Autopilot can help with that) with a website tracking tool and a lead scoring solution to understand their buying stage. SalesWings, for example, can track not only how often a lead visits the website, but also which pages they are viewing (and when they’re viewing them). By visiting a website often, a lead reveals that they’re quite interested in your solution and should, therefore, be prioritized as “hot” for the sales team. This should be especially true for leads who spend a lot of time on the pricing or demo pages of the website. But leads that haven’t visited in a long time, or don’t visit your website at all, should be categorized as “cold” since their level of interest isn’t very high. Lead qualification with the help of website tracking and predictive scoring lets you know who is most interested and ready to purchase your product or service.

Another key benefit of qualifying leads systematically is that it increases the efficiency of your sales process by ensuring leads have both the budget and authority to purchase your solution. How many relationships have your sales and marketing teams nurtured only to learn that the lead has to ask their supervisor for permission or budget to buy your solution? Waiting until the end of the sales process to learn that information is incredibly inefficient.

When it comes to determining a lead’s budget and purchase authority, sales reps benefit greatly from intelligent real-time contact data enrichment. This feature fetches key data about leads and their companies from social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Another useful tool called Fullcontact shows you lead profile information right inside Gmail.

Having data about someone’s role within their organization (as well as the size of that organization) can provide insight into whether that person is able to make a purchase. Having a director-level title might mean you can decide to purchase a solution in a 50-person company. But a lead with that title will likely need VP-level or C-suite approval in a company with 5,000 employees. If your team is using website tracking, a rep can quickly follow up with leads to find out their current budget.

Remember that lead qualification is meant to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales process. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you create processes that are too complex, then you won’t get the benefits of qualifying leads. But high-quality web forms, website tracking, and predictive lead scoring can help.

Do you struggle with your lead qualification process? Let us know below!

About SalesWings

SalesWings is an intelligent lead scoring and website tracking add-on that aligns sales and marketing around the hottest leads. SalesWings helps sales reps reduce lead qualification time by offering them insights into the nature of the leads’ interest based on website activity, as well as enriched contact information about the lead’s profile and their company’s key data. This leads to a better collaboration between marketing and sales, faster response rates, and an increase in deal closing rates.

Want to learn more about productive lead qualification? Contact the team at SalesWings today.

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