How can outbound B2B sales teams effectively qualify leads? How should they maximize success?

1.3k views3 Upvotes9 Comments

Director of Sales in Insurance (except health), 2 - 10 employees
In my past two companies where I have been responsible for sales in the position as sales director, I have also established an outbound team, inside sales team. 
It really depends on the market or better said product portfolio you deal with. For known products, just to increase the sales, it is pretty easy with a good and reliable strategy to fulfill targets. That is like using a bonus per head. Create a good story line combined with a limited offer, than it is kind of self running.
For the more complex topics you better chose a five contact way... means phone the customers and make them aware that a message will be sent, send afterwards details to these potential customers, pretty focussed but detailed, wait two working days (never have a weekend in between), call all customers, walk through the information, try to align and promise to send a summary of the call. Send the summary the same day, wait annother one to three days, call again and close.
That works also for non physic offers like services...
COO in Software, 2 - 10 employees
In my experience it is useful to consider three levels of qualification for B2B sales teams. First is the information about the organisation and individual that you can get through research and how this fits with the ideal customer profile - is it the company right profile in terms of industry, size, finances and the individual the right department, role, title, length of time at the company. The second level is about the questions you ask in discovery related the "Jobs to be Done", problems, implications and how this fits with your solution. The third level is testing the level of commitment the prospect has to investing in identifying and implementing a solution. The combination of this information then establishes which deals to focus on. Balancing sales teams investment between closing the high probability deals and developing the potential deals is another important factor for maximising sustained success as it can be easy to over focus on closing the done deals.
Founder in Media, 2 - 10 employees
I use the P-DAT qualifying framework to qualify leads. P = Product Fit. DA = Decision-making ability. T = Timeline. What I'm looking for is a prospect that I am confident will benefit from my product or service and who has the ability to determine whether or not to purchase the product. Lastly, even if they can benefit and buy it, I want to ensure the timelines match up. To discern this, I ask if this is a project, deliverable, opportunity etc that has some immediacy. I am looking for a timeline in the next 3-12 months depending on the sales cycle & length of onboarding.
Corporate Strategy and Business Development Consultant in Consumer Goods, 10,001+ employees
I would say that while traditional tactics have their merits, it is crucial for outbound sales reps to collaborate closely with their marketing counterparts for lead qualification. In today's B2B buying landscape, customers independently navigate approximately 80% of the purchase journey before engaging with a sales rep or even expressing interest.

As a result, it's essential for marketing to funnel qualified demand directly to Account Executives (AEs), while passing qualified leads to Sales Development Representatives/Business Development Representatives (SDR/BDR) before they reach the AEs. This streamlined approach to lead qualification should be clearly defined within the go-to-market (GTM) strategy, as it guides marketing's content creation and equips SDR/BDR teams with the necessary framework to effectively filter leads. By fostering a symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales, organizations can optimize their lead qualification process and maximize their chances of success.
Founder and Chief Sales Energizer in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
Best to get an introduction. You then start off with someone who is interested and you have some credibility that was transferred from the introducer. Then to effectively "qualify" you are looking for a fit between their problem, need, concern and your solution. You are not looking for BANT Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline. If you uncover a fit, they will give you all of that information as they move forward. You are looking for a fit so that you can show them how you will solve. Even if you can't get an introduction if you peak their curiosity so that they want to have a conversation, then your job is to find the fit. That's how you maximize success. 
Director of Sales, 51 - 200 employees
For our outbound team of BDRs we look at minimal qualification. 
Do they fit into our size criteria (employee size, revenue, etc)?
Do they have a problem we can solve?
Do they want to continue the conversation?

That's where the BDR will get something booked and hand it over to the AE for a more in depth discovery.

It's also important to note we have a relatively small TAL right now, so we want to maximize every opportunity and understand as much as we can about our space.
Founder in Media, 2 - 10 employees
Develop a qualifying framework that is appropriate for YOUR ICP and sales process. For example, my career has been spent in enterprise/C-suite selling so I developed the P-DAT qualifying framework. P-DAT = Product Fit, Decision Ability + Timeline. Just as important as finding a qualifying framework that's appropriate for your sales process is creating a clear set of rules of engagement. The # 1 issue I see on teams is they don't have clear expectations about which types of leads qualify and which don't. You know who your ICP is. Stick to it. Happy Selling!
CEO in Hardware, Self-employed
First, remember that qualification is a continuous process. Something could change from either the selling or buying company's side that changes the opportunity qualification, either positively or negatively. ABQ (Always Be Qualifying)!

The very first thing you need to start qualifying is the business case. Answer these two questions: Is the customer ready to buy? Is the customer ready to buy from you? B2B is different from B2C. In B2C, there is a higher emphasis on "want"; nobody "needs" a Ferrari, but they sell because people want them. In B2B, if the need for your product can't be established, then the probability of closing the deal approaches zero. Period. I've seen too many sellers get 6 months into a deal, establishing great relationships and doing blow-your-socks-off demos, only to have the bottom fall out because they missed establishing the "need" a the beginning of the entire process.

You need a qualification framework, like MEDDICC or SPI, that addresses the various aspects of the customer's buying journey. However, don't use a qualification framework as a "checklist". Instead, use it as a guide to your conversations. Craft your conversations and stories such that they tease out the answers to 2 or 3 of the items. You don't need to thoroughly qualify them in one call. As for BANT, be careful there. BANT is an "acid test" and doesn't provide an opportunity to uncover hidden demand. Think of BANT as a "slash and burn" approach to get through as many calls as possible. 
Director of Sales in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Nothing like a simple straightforward question! I kid. I kid. 

Qualification is a massive topic, but at the SDR level we do a semi qualified model with specific characteristics based on what we know about the company and the individual(Lead). 

We care about revenue size, role(must be above a certain level), interest level, need/pain, industry as a starting point. We know who will be successful with our solution and will occasionally take meetings if they don't meet ALL of the above but you've got to at least match this part of our profile. If we can get all of the above we're happy but 3/5 is a  minimum.

Inbounds require more qualification but the above is a good place to start. Filter harder if you're a smaller bootstrapped company(like us) and less if you're a VC hypergrowth(done this as well).

From there....well that's a whole book probably. Hope this was helpful.


Content you might like



Stayed the same100%


42 views1 Upvote

VP of Sales in Software, 10,001+ employees
I believe that AI can automate away the busy work as a great co-pilot, but the relationship, intuition, conversation, and understanding part of sales should continue to be part of the human experience... 

219 views2 Upvotes1 Comment

VP of Sales in Software, 10,001+ employees
Lead qualification - could go to another team, but could also leverage technology to help...

249 views2 Upvotes1 Comment