Every contact is not a lead, similarly all marketing generated leads are not “sales-ready”. Marketing flushes great deal of leads they have generated over time to sales teams for completing the virtuous cycle of lead generation.
And sales teams assume that every lead that marketing has offered is qualified for sales. They go through the whole process of trying to nurture the lead and close, but all their efforts fail because the leads weren’t qualified.
Sales managers should make sure every lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible.
Sales and marketing should bridge this gap and drive outsized revenue growth. Some of the best practices of lead qualification is to collaboratively create a definition for a qualified lead, lead scoring to identify suspected quality leads and a strong lead management process to manage the handoffs.
Sales professionals and leaders are very familiar with the BANT methodology for qualifying leads – Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. There are many debates over the efficacy of BANT in the modern selling environment. And when you think about it, the debates make sense. In many cases, buyers don’t have pre-defined projects with set budgets and timelines anymore. And asking sales reps to BANT qualify every lead that comes their way means that they probably won’t get a lot of leads.
To address this ripening problem, Ken Krogue defined a new lead qualification methodology – ANUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money). The difference in this practice is that ANUM methodology proposes to create demand higher within the prospect organization against project-based selling. Sales reps with the help of marketing must build need with the authority figures, create an urgency to purchase, and help them figure out how they are going to fund it.
The best way to gain insight on your prospect’s qualification is to ask them sales prospecting questions and listen carefully to their answers. Here is a compilation of lead qualification questions to ask your prospects based on the ANUM approach which is widely more accepted than BANT.
Here are 14 Lead Qualification Questions
Authority questions should be to help you map out your prospect company’s organizational structure. These questions will give you a better idea on who the decision makers and influencers are.
- How are purchasing decisions made in your organization for a product like ours?
- Who, in addition to yourself, are involved in making a decision for such a purchase? How important is it to have them onboard with the decision?
- What potential concerns do you think they will have? What would be the best way to handle them?
- Are you comfortable if I call (Name of the Decision-Maker/Influencer) to have a brief conversation to get a different perspective on the solution?
Need questions are to determine whether your product or service is a match for your prospect. You need to believe that your product or service is able to solve their pain points.
- What challenges or problems is your business going through?
- How long have you had this problem? What made you decide to solve this now?
- What are the likely consequences if the problem remains unsolved?
- What objectives are you aiming to achieve by solving this pain?
Urgency questions identify how high up your prospect has prioritized the particular business challenge or problem. This will help sales reps in knowing whether to focus on building a business case around their problem, your solution, and ROI. If the problem they stated proves to be a back burner, the prospect would not resonate well with what you have to offer.
- When would you like to have this problem solved?
- How important is solving this problem to you? Where does this stack up in terms of priority and urgency?
- Would you like to hear about how other companies I’ve worked with have implemented plans like these?
Money questions will ascertain whether your prospect can afford your product or service? You will need to draw out a figure on how much your prospect expects to spend for the investment to fulfill their needs. Now would be a good time to convince them about the typical ROI for your solution that makes it a worthy investment.
- Do you have a budget allocated to this?
- Is your finance team involved in approving the allocation?
- What are your expectations for the investment to purchase our solution?
Asking these ANUM questions and listening closely is the key to qualify your leads and opportunities. Always remember to ask these questions with genuine interest to successfully qualify them.