Leads come in many shapes, sizes, and stages of 'sales readiness'. While it might not be the snappiest marketing phrase you will hear all year, sales readiness can make all the difference in a lead-nurturing campaign and in defining what is and isn't a sales-qualified lead.

In this blog, we get to the bottom of - what is a sales-qualified lead.

Categorisation is key

Because all leads have their own characteristics, it is important that we categorise them appropriately. Apart from the basic data that you might be able to gather during your lead generation process—such as job title and company size—you also need to judge how 'ripe they are for the picking'. In a sales context, this means whether they are ready to engage in a sales conversation, i.e., if they are sales qualified.

Know your indicators

In order to assess sales readiness and qualify your sales, you will need to measure a lead's level of engagement with your brand thus far. This can be done by using metrics such as the type of pages they have viewed on your website, the number of pages they have viewed, the frequency of visits to your website, anything they have downloaded, such as a brochure or free demo, repeat visits to pages that include pricing, and the number of times they have opened your emails.

Organising your data

As you can see above, the various metrics used to assess sales-qualified leads mean that there is an awful lot of data flying around! That's why we can be thankful for the availability of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that allow you to record all your tracked behaviour in lead profiles at all stages of the buyer's journey.

You might also like to use your gathered data to help you identify sales-qualified leads. This technique can be automated and typically uses a scale such as one to 100 to assess sales-readiness. These lead scoring systems can save your sales team time, meaning that they have a set method of deciding which leads get fast-tracked around the marketing, sales, and service flywheel.

A typical lead-scoring model

While there is no compulsory method of calculation for lead scoring, you might like to divide each lead score into four separate elements before totalling their final score. These elements include;

Lead Fit, which includes background information on the prospect, including their demographics; Lead Interest, such as the proactive steps they have taken to engage in your brand through calls to action (what is a call to action? Think links to landing pages and content offers that convert, social follow buttons and invitations to call!); Lead Behaviour, which assesses the type of content a lead is viewing, potentially indicating their current knowledge about a product or service; and finally Buying Stage, which defines how far along the buyer's journey they are in relation to becoming a customer.

Once you've defined your criteria and have an efficient scoring method, identifying sales-qualified leads and managing to attract buyers becomes much easier!