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What Makes Good Leads for Sales? 5 Traits to Look For

Good leads are the lifeblood of the sales process. Your team has heard plenty about whether leads are inbound or outbound; cold, warm, or hot; low-quality or high-quality.

Nurturing leads starts with impactful lead generation from your marketing team, then shifts into effective conversion from your salespeople. It’s easy to think that having tons of leads is what’s key to sales success, but this is absolutely about quality, rather than quantity, every step of the way.

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Get Your Team Clear on Your Definition of a “Lead”

We’ll be walking you through five traits that make good leads for sales, but before all else, let’s give your team clarity on what precisely is a “lead”. Leads are the companies, or the individuals from these companies, who you’d like to do business with. Your team will already know the terms “cold”, “warm”, and “hot” leads, but have more specific parameters ready to help get your team on the same page as you are.

As an example, your definition of cold leads might be the contacts that your team is reaching out to who haven’t come across your business already. Warm and hot leads could therefore be the leads that have expressed interest in your services already, and you expect to have a higher conversion rate than those your team has made cold calls to. What’s next is letting your team know the exact criteria you’d like them to work with; in other words, the traits of what precisely is a “good lead” for you. This guide will help you build an effective system to define exactly what that is for your team.

First big check: is the lead who your sales team is approaching someone with the authority to make those crucial decisions? If yes, you’re onto the right track. Let your team know that the first person they come across, or connect with online, won’t always be the person they should pitch to. They might have engaged with a prospect in the right department, but not necessarily the person with the power over the bottom line. This is where digging deep into a little more research will pay off: your time and resources are going to be finite, so making sure you have someone who can move you forwards from the get-go is vital. In short: good leads are the ones that can get you straight to a yes quickest.

Make Sure Your Decision-Maker Is Relevant to Your Services

A contact might be in a relatively senior role, but not in the right team to bring you in. Encourage your team to get in front of someone who will know exactly what they’re being offered, so that they’re maximizing all the time they have. Yes, it’s great that they’ve found someone in the IT department of a large organization… but if you’re offering AI, it might be the Head of Emerging Technology you need, not necessarily the CIO.

A Good Lead Has an Immediate Need…

We implied it above, but time really is a deciding component in closing a sale. Empower your sales pros to invest time in leads that have an issue that they need resolving now or in the very short-term.

They are going to encounter plenty of possible clients who might fit your target customer perfectly, but let your team prioritize leads that require solutions fast. Log and keep track of those hopefuls for a time when they’re ready for your help, but a good lead is one you can serve in a timely manner.

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…That You’re Fully Able to Meet

It’s natural to get through the door to someone who has many areas they’re having trouble with, but top-rate sales professionals know how to decide which issue to address. It could be a decision like whether you want to work with a UK-based business when you’re working out of California, as you’d have to think about that eight hour time difference. Alternatively, you might find a lead who’s struggling with a variety of tech issues, but actually, you’re an agency that has honed in on tackling SEO for your clients. Younger companies, and less seasoned salespeople, are quick to say yes to the first query, but often there’s something else that should be offering instead.

A Good Lead Is a Well-Researched Lead

Make the most of your CRM, by having the means to record as much data as you need. There are some awesome guides out there to help you get you ahead, remembering that good records make for easier sales. Ensure that any contact details you’ve stored for the future are still accurate later down the line; teams change all the time, so you’ll need to be ready to update the information you’ve gathered if a new member joins your client’s team.

Go further than your initial data, though. “Take notes is always my advice,” said a senior sales pro we spoke to. “Any time a contact lets you know something personal about themselves, have that written down to come back to. It’s so much more engaging to open a call with a question about that individual’s family or situation that they’ve chosen to share with you already.”

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When you’re ready to make the sale, be sure to use our three golden questions to close the deal. Got your tips? Join us on Twitter and let us know.