With more companies looking to create recurring revenue models based on subscription sales, the impact of customer churn is higher than ever. The only way that a recurring revenue business model becomes sustainable is if you have happy customers who continue to buy what you have to sell. What we have learned is that having a Customer Success team as part of MarketStar’s Sales as a ServiceⓇ offering is essential to reducing customer churn.Read More
The decision to outsource key sales functions can have a profound impact on the success of your company. After all, any step you can take that will move prospects through the sales funnel more quickly or readily will help boost your sales overall.Read More
Understandably, 2020 has been a unique year for many sales reps. Many businesses have delayed or canceled investments in products and services until the COVID-19 pandemic is over and they can more accurately plan for the future, others have seen a surge in demand and require quick action and product education. In both scenarios,, the business-to-business (B2B) market is growing increasingly competitive.Read More
Lately, we have been talking about small and medium-sized business (SMB) sales, but what about enterprise sales? Enterprise sales requires a different approach than SMB sales does. It also requires different resources and more patience, but the size of the sale makes it more than worthwhile.Read More
I love playing softball. It’s a game we can play long into our later years, but it still requires skill and precision. The key to a big softball win? Lots of small hits. I’m amazed that when you play a game where it’s single hit after single hit, all of a sudden you look at the scoreboard and it’s 9-0 after one inning! Rarely do you hit homeruns in softball, it’s playing the smaller hits. That’s kind of like playing the SMB market -- smaller hits, but when you add them all up, you get a massive end-result. Small ball in business (SMB) is a winner, but it takes skill and precision.Read More
Hiring outsourced sales professionals can be a quick, cost-effective solution for bolstering your in-house sales team. Whether you’re looking to expand into a new market segment, add specialty sales roles, incorporate Customer Success, or simply empower your in-house team to do more, outsourcing sales is a powerful and proven way to significantly grow your team’s capabilities.Read More
In today’s highly competitive B2B sales climate, lead qualification has become an increasingly important part of the sales process. It not only saves you time and resources—by helping to ensure you’re only talking to the right people—but it also provides customers with a more personalized experience, improves close rates, and boosts revenue.
However, many sales teams lack the time or experience needed to really focus on lead qualification. But consider this: On average, only 25 percent of leads are legitimate and will advance to a sale. Without a robust lead qualification process, your team is wasting time on three-quarters of their leads.
Of course, turning prospects into sales is easier said than done. But without qualifying leads, your salespeople are working hard to convert leads who aren’t going to turn into customers no matter what they try.
To hone in on the right leads, it’s important to understand the three core levels of lead qualification: marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and sales qualified leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
The first stage of leads, MQLs, are those who have been deemed qualified by a company’s marketing team. Generally, these leads are more likely than others to become customers.
A lead might be considered to be qualified by marketing if they are flagged in lead intelligence software. Or, the person may have taken a specific action that indicates interest, such as downloading a piece of content or signing up for a webinar. These specific behavioral actions can help qualify an MQL and are signs that a lead is ready for the next step.
Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)
When a lead is determined to be an MQL, they are passed on to the sales team for further investigation. At this point, the sales team works to gather additional information on each lead to determine whether to accept them.
At each individual company, the sales team should determine what constitutes an SAL. A reliable way to qualify an SAL is through the ANUM method:
- Authority: Is the lead a decision maker at the company?
- Need: What does the lead need, and would your company’s product or service meet that need?
- Urgency: How soon will the lead need to make a decision?
- Money/Budget: Does the lead have the money to buy your product or service?
After SALs are evaluated based on these four criteria, each lead is either discarded, sent back to marketing for further nurturing, or developed even further along in the sales pipeline to become a sales qualified lead.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
If a lead is qualified by marketing and accepted and vetted by sales, they then become an SQL. Typically, a prospect becomes an SQL after they have been nurtured by the sales team; however, some SQLs enter the sales funnel at this late stage of their own volition.
In most cases, SQLs are nearing the end of the Buyer’s Journey. They are relatively invested in the purchasing decision, but before they become customers, they may have specific questions or need some one-on-one time with a sales rep.
At this stage, it can be helpful for the sales team to leverage any information gathered on the lead during the MQL phase, such as resources they have downloaded. Then, the sales rep can have an informed discussion with the lead about their needs and how your products or services can help.
A Worthwhile Exercise
Lead qualification takes time and effort—there’s no doubt about it. But when sales and marketing work together to guide leads through the three phases mentioned above, they wind up with stronger leads in the long run. In fact, Forrester reports that a targeted sales nurturing program results in 50 percent more sales-ready discussions at a 33 percent lower cost.
Of course, not every sales team is equipped to handle lead qualification from end to end. This is one key function that can readily be outsourced to a Sales as a ServiceⓇ provider. By partnering with an experienced Sales as a Service provider that specializes in lead qualification, your team will benefit from higher-quality leads as well as ample time and resources to guide prospects through the final stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
When sales organizations look back on 2020, one of their main “lessons learned” might be the importance of Customer Success. With so much uncertainty impacting the economy, sales teams are eager for effective ways to reconnect with their customers and bring new ones into the fold. This year and well into the future, Customer Success will be a key differentiator between losing sales and enabling significant growth.Read More
History will remember 2020 as a year that changed the world, including how it has affected how we do business. The chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on global business, including B2B sales and marketing. The B2B sales trends you can expect to see in 2021 are going to be a direct result of the pivot that successful companies were able to make to deal with the economic downturn in 2020.Read More
There are 30.7 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States. Taken as a group, they account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses. That’s a huge potential market, especially when you consider that SMBs are expected to spend more than $676 billion on tech in 2021. As a group, SMB sales revenue is too big to ignore, but how do you justify the cost of SMB sales against the ROI?Read More