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What Does A Sales-Ready Lead Look Like?

Working your sales-ready leads first is your key to managing your workload and staying productive. But how do you know which leads are sales-ready? Let’s find out.

In our previous article, we looked at how to-do lists can help sales reps manage their workload better. We looked at how they bring focus, structure, and clarity to a rep’s day, so they can work more efficiently. However, sales managers still want to see impact. The greatest impact comes when reps work their most sales-ready leads as a priority.

In this article, we’ll look at how we identify which leads are sales-ready and which are not.

Dimensions of Intent

We often use the term "sales-ready lead," but in reality, do we always know what makes a sales-ready lead? For example, if you were to pick a prospect in your system, could you immediately say, "Yes. That’s someone I need to work on right now"?

You should look at four factors, which I call "dimensions of intent:"

  • Fit
  • Engagement
  • Inquiry - are they asking sales-oriented questions?
  • Status – are we talking to them already?

For all these factors, you can derive intent from your data. Let’s look at these in turn.

1 – Fit

Assessing whether a prospect has the right profile is the first thing you look at, as you already have the data points in your CRM or other data sources. Start with the simple stuff – job title, job function, company size, annual revenue, industry, etc.

The last thing to look for is a use case for each profile (not everyone factors this in). Do you understand the prospects recognized pain, the possible application, and its perceived value? It’s not necessarily about trying to find out everything you can about a prospect. It’s more about proving out why they actually want your product.

2 – Engagement

Next, is a lead actively looking? Are they engaged with you? Typically, we would assign an engagement score. However, engagement scores are tough to do unless you have the proper tracking mechanisms implemented from your marketing automation tools. We should also note that scoring engagement is different from what we have always called lead scoring.

When assessing engagement, you’re really looking for the pulse of the profile. Assign small positive scores to engagements such as visiting a page, opening an email, or completing a form, but assign larger negative scores for periods when they don’t engage.

Scoring engagement in this way won’t just tell you when it’s time to act, it can also tell you when to move on.

3 – Inquiry

Deriving intent from a profile’s inquiries is quite simple as it’s more specific and defined than engagement.

Through your marketing automation software, you can track:

  • Form completions
  • Chat logs
  • Call and/or email responses

Look for intent in what they’re asking for (asking for a sales call shows more intent than a content download, for example), and also what they ask. Devise naming conventions that show you, at a glance, how far the target is on their decision-making process.

4 – Status

Finally, you need to understand where you are in your conversation with your target. Use action-based status names that tell you what to do next, such as:

  • Open – yet to be assigned. Action: Assign them!
  • Working – assigned to a rep who is performing outreach, but no response yet. Action: Get a response
  • Engaged – the prospect has responded positively. Action: Secure a meeting!
  • Pre-qualified – prospect has agreed to a meeting. Action: Fully qualify them!
By following this prospect, you can identify what you need to do to move each lead through the sales process, and prioritize accordingly on your to-do lists.

Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll look at how sales reps can best leverage dimensions of intent.

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