The lead qualification process doesn’t have to be a challenge that takes up a disproportionate amount of your time and energy. In fact, once you’ve got the right lead scoring model in place, you’ll be able to qualify leads quickly and efficiently, giving you and your sales team the opportunity to build nurturing relationships with clients and boost your profits.

But what exactly is lead qualification, and how can getting it right increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales teams?

Lead Qualification

What is Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification is all about measuring a potential buyer’s financial capabilities before they make a purchase. When it comes to clients looking for a mortgage, you’ll need to identify the buyers who are ready to take on a mortgage and meet a lender’s demands.

Qualified prospects are those who are most likely to engage with the sales process and be converted by your sales team.

Lead qualification is essential because it helps ensure you get the most from your campaign, and as qualified leads are at the root of every successful sales process, the negative consequences of getting the qualification process wrong can include a loss of sales, wasted time and a fall in profitability.

Given the significant costs involved in the lead qualification process, it’s important that companies avoid investing costs into marketing to prospects they are unlikely to convert. If your marketing team can establish which prospective clients are most suitable earlier in the process, and qualify leads accurately, then sales reps are far more likely to be able to convert those clients effectively.

How Lead Qualification Works

Appointment setting is a precise art, and establishing the most qualified leads is a vital part of any sales strategy.

Qualify Leads

To qualify leads, your marketing team needs to understand whether a potential buyer is suitable for the product or service you are offering. Initially, this can be achieved through targeted advertising, but early in the process, potential customers must be identified and developed.

There are several factors involved in this process, from identifying the right target audience to establishing the decision maker in the household and working out how much money a client has available.

Leads with a defined budget and the purchasing authority to use it are extremely valuable to mortgage brokers, and an initial discovery call can quickly determine the point value of potential leads, before they become a qualified prospect.

Qualified Leads vs Unqualified Leads

Your sales reps will struggle to move buyers to make a successful purchasing decision if they are dealing with unqualified leads. It’s important to understand the status of all relevant leads before you begin to qualify them effectively.

Unqualified Mortgage Leads

  • Do not meet the criteria imposed by a lender (or are likely to struggle to meet the criteria) and as such are unlikely to generate a profit
  • Are not intending to make a change to their existing mortgage situation in the short or medium term
  • Do not have authority in the decision making process
  • Cannot establish appropriate credentials or provide accurate contact information

Unqualified Mortgage Leads

Qualified Mortgage Leads

  • Do not suffer from budgetary constraints that would deter a lender from making an offer
  • Exhibit online behavior and social media engagement indicating that they are in the market to make a purchase in the near future
  • Meet the demands of the relevant qualification framework (see below)
  • Can immediately evidence that they are in the market for the product or service you are offering

Qualified Mortgage Leads

Lead Qualification in the Sales Cycle

It’s important to understand where lead qualification sits within the traditional sales cycle model, as developing an effective sales funnel will streamline the process and allow your teams to identify and develop the right prospects at the right time.

The positive implications of getting this sales qualification process right are significant, and as your potential customers are likely to move through the stages of awareness, consideration and decision, it’s important that each sales rep understands how various qualification frameworks might fit into the sales cycle.

Prospective customers can be thought of as being on a journey within the commitment decision process, and it’s the job of your team to nurture them through each pain point until they are ready to purchase the product or service you provide.

Sales Cycling And Lead Qualifying

Traditionally, the sales cycle model sees the marketing team gaining a valuable insight into a potential buyer’s details through effective use of a marketing funnel and making the initial contact.

Having developed more of an understanding of the client’s needs and suitability, they can then proceed to a proper qualification before the sales team have the chance to convert leads.

What’s the Difference Between MQL and SQL?

MQL and SQL are acronyms that are used frequently when it comes to defining the status of a lead. It’s particularly important to understand the difference between them when it comes to buyers entering the mortgage market, as the value and potential profit of each investment is so significant.

But what exactly is the difference between these terms?

What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?

Marketing qualified leads are potential clients who have established a dialogue with your marketing team, expressed an interest in developing a relationship and are likely to become a customer. MQL’s are not yet ready to buy your product, but are worth nurturing positively, as they may well become viable clients if supported through a range of pain points.

Marketing Qualified Lead

What is a Sales Qualified Lead?

By contrast, sales qualified leads are buyers who have moved further through the marketing funnel and are able to take the next step and secure a mortgage through your brokerage. It is these clients that your sales team should spend its time supporting and converting, as SQL’s are ready to make a financial commitment in a way that MQL’s are not.

Lead Scoring Methods

It is vital to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are aligned in their understanding of this process, and that communication between departments results in more leads of higher value.

Marketing managers must ensure that the information passing through the funnel is accurate and timely, and sales managers should try all possible approaches to enable sales lead qualification in measurable, analytical ways.

Lead Score

An agreed approach to lead scoring is an efficient and effective way to manage this important process.

Qualifying Sales Leads Using Lead Scoring

Lead scoring refers to the method of assigning point values to prospects in the early stages of their sales pipeline. Usually, this happens before sales staff make discovery calls and means that reps are likely to talk positively with potential prospects.

As part of this process, you are likely to gather a range of customer information based on their previous engagement with your brand, with an increasing number of points assigned as their engagement increases. Once a predetermined score is met, the prospective client is ready for direct contact.

How you assign points within your scoring system will vary based on your goals and experience, but the key factor is to ensure that the system you develop moves SQL’s through your process in a timely manner.

Lead Score

Developing your lead scoring system, whether you are working from scratch in-house or using marketing automation software, will only work if both teams are involved, understand and respect the need for accuracy and honesty, and agreement is reached on the value of each contributory element.

Fortunately, several lead qualification frameworks exist to help companies define their process effectively. Here are two examples…

The BANT Method

This process is probably the most well-known and reliable system for accurate lead qualification. Coined by IBM, BANT stands for:

  • Budget (What level of resources does the buyer have available? What is the potential for lenders to engage with this client?)
  • Authority (Does the customer have the authority to make decisions, and do they have a financial and personal background that will allow conversion? This might include savings, credit scores and existing debts.)
  • Needs (What does the buyer need, and can that need be met by your company or through relevant referrals and partnerships?)
  • Timeframe (Is the buyer in the market now or in the future, and are they working to a timeframe that will suit all parties?)

Bant Method

The CHAMP Method

This approach to lead qualification looks at the process from a more supportive perspective. Whereas the BANT framework is a relatively straightforward, linear strategy that makes an assumption that the buyer is aware of the details and value of your services, the CHAMP approach allows you to analyse and overcome the immediate obstacles facing conversion.

The CHAMP acronym stands for:

  • Challenge (What are the obstacles that might stop a conversion from happening later in the process, and how can these be overcome now?)
  • Authority (Similar to the BANT model, but also places a higher focus on your authority to assist the client to overcome challenges, developing a deeper, more trusting relationship as a result.)
  • Money (Is the buyer in a position to pay for the service or product, and if not, how can you offer advice, referrals and support to move them into a more agreeable situation?)
  • Prioritisation (What are the most important sequential actions to be taken in order to achieve the desired outcome for all parties, and who needs to take responsibility for action?)

 

Conclusion

Without an accurate and timely strategy for qualifying leads, combined with a powerful automated workflow, your business is unlikely to maximise the outcome of your lead generation efforts. This is one of the central reasons why mortgage brokerages struggle to convert buyers, and it can seriously affect your profitability and reputation.

 

If you feel that your lead qualification process could be improved to maximise efficiency and profitability, then it is worth considering using an automated workflow package that will allow you to increase customer enagement and conversion whilst freeing up time for other income-generating activities.

The myleadmachine 4-step process is an industry-proven, affordable and super-effective package that aligns your advertising, lead generation and qualification and client workflow into a single cost-effective system. Why not find out more and boost your lead qualification process today?

Lead Qualification

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