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Be it any industry, the need to convert leads into customers is critical to the growth of a business. To meet this need and improve conversions, sales teams are always on the lookout for new techniques, smarter tools, and the latest trick in the book.
There’s always something new that promises to be the ‘ultimate’ hack or a ‘game-changing’ tool to help sell better. Shiny as new tricks are, sometimes sticking to the tried-and-tested ways is what can work wonders.
Lead qualification is one such tried-and-tested framework that can help sales teams get closer to their ultimate goal – converting more leads into customers.
In fact, a Salesforce study found out that companies who qualify leads, generate up to 50% higher sales opportunities at 33% lesser costs!
In this post, we’ll discuss in-depth about the different lead qualification frameworks, along with tips on how to choose the right one and use it to your advantage.
By the time you’re done reading this, you will get answer to an important question – “How to qualify leads and find relevant prospects?”
Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of the different qualification frameworks, here’s a quick refresher.
How does qualifying leads matters in sales?
Generating more leads is only half the battle won, converting them into customers is what matters more.
Since not all leads are equal, ideally, a sales team should focus only on dealing with leads who have a high chance of becoming customers.
Lead qualification = the process of finding out which leads are worth chasing first and whether they have the potential of buying what you’re selling.
It doesn’t require any special skills to know how this works – since your sales time is limited, the more you spend it dealing with the right leads, the closer you get to your goal of increasing conversions.
Next up, let’s dive deep into the different sales qualification frameworks you can start using.
One of the oldest frameworks for qualifying leads, BANT is still one of the most preferred and easiest ways to tell which leads are worth considering as ‘prospects’.
Devised by IBM, BANT is an acronym for – Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing.
Sales teams can qualify a lead using BANT as per the parameters listed below –
- Budget: Does the lead have the required budget to buy what you have to offer?
- Authority: Is the lead in a position to make a decision about making a purchase?
- Need: Does your product or service help a lead solve their problems or meet their needs precisely?
- Timing: Does the lead have a clear timeline on when or how soon they need to decide on a solution?
Answers to the above questions can give sales teams a good understanding of who they are talking to and whether a particular lead has the potential to be qualified as a prospect.
Thus, BANT can serve as a quick-and-easy framework in your lead qualification process.
As evident, BANT puts factors like ‘budget’ and ‘authority’ first, compared to the needs of your target customers.
Thus, it is most suitable for businesses who are interested in filtering cold leads out of their sales funnel at the first glance, and have no time to nurture or invest over them, in general.
> When to use BANT
Sales teams should use BANT when they want to be super specific about where they are going to invest their time and efforts, and don’t have the resources or bandwidth needed to invest in relationship building over a period of time.
> When not to use BANT
Keep in mind that BANT might not be suitable for every industry, especially in scenarios where a lead or a company might be considering different products or services on the basis of the quotations they get from the market, and might not necessarily have an exact budget in place.
ANUM can be considered as a slightly modified version of the BANT framework for lead qualification.
It is short for – Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money.
Sales teams can qualify a lead using ANUM as per the parameters listed below –
- Authority: Is the lead also the decision making authority for making a purchase?
- Need: Does the lead have a clear set of needs and can the product or service meet those needs?
- Urgency: How soon can the lead make a purchase decision? Do they have a clearly articulated need for it?
- Money: Does the lead have the money required to buy what you’re selling?
Clearly, ANUM is what usually happens when sales teams don’t want to linger around and quickly get to the point, which is, if a lead can make a purchase decision and whether they have the money to spend.
> When to use ANUM
Salespeople prefer using ANUM as it gives them pin-point clarity about the potential of a lead and if your efforts are focused in the right direction or not.
Leading a conversation with a focus on understanding the authority of a lead, can save you precious time and effort.
Further, you can also tweak your pitch based on whether a lead is in the position to make a decision themselves or not.
> When not to use ANUM
But be wary that not everyone who is a decision-maker has the time to research solutions – so you might miss out on some sales opportunities if you’re too quick to qualify (and eliminate).
So far, the lead qualification questions and frameworks revolved around getting faster to the end goal i.e. a conversion (or a sale).
Salespeople know that they have deals to close and targets to meet – but is that all there is to selling? CHAMP challenges this approach.
It’s a framework that literally puts customers upfront and center and modifies the qualification process understanding their needs better and helping them understand how your product/service can solve their ‘challenges’ in an effective way.
It is short for – Challenges, Authority, Money and Prioritization, and here’s how you can qualify leads based on this framework –
- Challenges: What challenges are being faced by a lead? How can your product or service help a lead overcome them?
- Authority: Does the lead have the authority to make a purchase decision to solve their challenges?
- Money: Is the lead in a position to spend the money required to pay for your product or service?
- Prioritization: How important is solving these challenges for a lead? How do they rate finding a solution on their priority list?
> When to use CHAMP
For sales teams who are focused on leading with empathy and building a better understanding of their target audience, CHAMP can be a useful qualification framework.
Put simply, if you are playing the long game, and are focused on listening to your target buyers keenly, it’s good to use this framework as part of your lead qualification process.
> When not to use CHAMP
It’s important to note that CHAMP is often a time-taking method (it’s slower than BANT and ANUM), so sales teams should be clear whether using it for qualification can have a positive ROI for their business or not, depending on their sales cycle.
One of the most recent frameworks for qualifying leads, GPCT puts emphasis on understanding your target audiences deeply and helping them succeed through your products and services.
Devised by Hubspot, GPCT stands for – Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline and it can be best used to qualify prospects who are well-aware of what they’re looking for and who kow what solution they need to get to their goals.
Here are the qualification questions to ask if you’re using the GPCT framework –
- Goals: What are the goals your leads are trying to achieve? Do they have flexible goals or fully finalized ones?
- Plans: Do they have a plan to reach their goals? If not, do they need your help in formulating a plan?
- Challenges: What are the challenges being faced by them? Can your product or service help them address these challenges?
- Timeline: What is the timeline for implementing a plan to achieve their goals? Is the timeline flexible or rigid?
Clearly, GPCT is a lengthy and time-taking framework for lead qualification, but it is really useful for sales teams who are dealing with informed and updated target audiences, especially in B2B industries where the sales cycle is longer than usual.
Also, once you have answers to the above questions, you can start focusing the conversation around budget and authority, to really ensure that you’re qualifying leads the right way and not overlooking two important factors that are a part of a sale.
> When to use GPCT
For mature sales teams with enough time and resources, embracing GPCT should be a no-brainer. It can position you as a business that listens, empathizes, and focuses on the needs and goals of your prospects.
It can also be used for up and coming products and services that are still finding market fit.
> When not to use GPCT
If you have too big of a list to qualify with not many resources in your sales team, it would be wise to avoid leading with this framework.
Ready to start qualifying?
Now that you know how to qualify a lead using different frameworks, it’s time to pick one and start the action.
If you’re having a hard time picking a qualification framework, here are three key aspects that every framework must cover –
- A basic qualification checklist for easily filtering out warm leads from cold ones
- A pre-documented set of questions to understand your prospects better
- A set of in-depth questions for further filtering out high intent prospects who are likely to turn into customers.
Ultimately, the best lead qualification framework is the one that helps you streamline your processes and connect with relevant opportunities faster.
So, don’t hesitate to experiment with the different frameworks or create your own!