What’s a Lead?
The voice is the ultimate weapon in the war on anonymity and the best way to create a relationship. If you have a tenuous relationship, if you exchange five e-mails without one live call, if you are dealing with an important issue, or if you are trying to persuade someone of something, invest a few minutes in a live call. On the phone, you have a better chance of hearing the truth, complete with all of those editorial comments and undertones that separate humans from business idiots. If you really want to know, pick up the damn phone.
There are, perhaps, more glamorous ways to develop and foster leads or inquiries, so the phone as a tool for qualification gets less media attention than other more buzz-worthy tactics. But no other channel is as accurate when it comes to collecting the qualitative information salespeople require to justify pursuing a prospective lead. The phone is timely, interactive and personal—the perfect combination of assets for building a relationship.
Qualification calling comes into play with a prospect who has “raised his or her hand” but whose demonstrated interest still has not reached qualified lead status. Qualification calling is designed for:
• preventing wasted time pursuing unqualified leads;
• ensuring that good sales opportunities are pursued;
• adhering to the universal lead definition;
• following up on events;
• following up on Web inquiries;
• following up on direct mail responses; and
• following up on all inquiries, regardless of source.
Even in light of its uniquely important role, the phone can’t stand alone. It must function as the convergence for all other modalities in the lead generation system, the central point for qualifying inquiries and leads of whatever description.
A good quality lead typically needs to satisfy the requirements of the BANTS formula: