What’s a Qualified Lead & How to Get More

Updated 11/13/2023

Not all leads are equal; some are qualified leads and some are not. But what is a qualified lead? And what makes these prospects different from any other?

The meat of it is that a qualified lead is the sort of opportunity you want to pursue. And if you’re not classifying your leads your sales team may be wasting time on weak prospects. Forgive the cliche, but time is money. If your business is spending time pursuing dead-end deals, you’re also burning dollars with nothing to show for the effort. In fact, a bad lead can cost your business $32,000, according to DiscoverOrg. To avoid this, your business should use lead qualification criteria to separate the dead-weight prospects but the sure-fire conversions.

What Is a Qualified Lead? 

A qualified lead is a person who’s more likely than the average person to engage with your business. If you don’t have the time to cold call or you don’t want to ask questions just to narrow down the pool of potential buyers, build an ideal customer profile to help you target potential customers and build a stronger target audience for your digital marketing efforts. 

To build an ideal customer profile, you’ll need to take a structured and analytical approach that considers your typical customers’ behaviors, needs and characteristics. Start by analyzing the data of your existing customer base — especially loyal customers. Look into their buying behaviors to identify patterns, determine the products they buy most and investigate how they interact with your brand. If you don’t already use customer relationship management software, consider implementing it to access higher-quality customer data.

Once you have a foundational understanding of your current customer base, take a deep dive into the demographics, such as their age, location, income level and occupation. Try to obtain more information about their interests, values and attitudes.

The data you obtain should help you build a profile for your existing profitable customers, giving you the information you need to create successful digital marketing campaigns that lead you to more qualified leads.

Sales Qualified Leads vs. Marketing Qualified Leads

When you’re dealing with lead management, you’re likely to hear about two classifications: sales qualified leads and marketing qualified leads. These categories each play important roles in the sales funnel and ensure the marketing team is always in sync with the sales team when it comes to pursuing leads. 

That said, SQL and MQL indicate different stages in the buying journey, and each is categorized by distinct, qualifying criteria. 

DefinitionLeads that have engaged with marketing efforts and shown interest in your product or serviceLeads that have been vetted and are deemed ready for direct engagement by a salesperson
IdentificationIdentified through their interactions with marketing content, such as downloading resources, subscribing to newsletters or attending webinarsIdentified through direct interactions, such as requesting a demo or a quote
PurposeTo generate interest and educate potential customers about what you offerConversion and guiding toward a purchasing decision
Engagement LevelA foundational level of engagement, typically through voluntary interactions with your marketing effortsIntentionally engaged with your brand, often seeking detailed information related to making a purchase

How to Generate Qualified Leads

Generating qualified leads in an effective way is often thought of as an art form in the sales and marketing world. Below, we’ve included some actionable tips to attract leads that are high-quality and likely to convert.

A good lead generation strategy requires embracing a multifaceted approach that includes inbound and outbound sales and marketing. While the tips above can help you access a broader customer base, take time to analyze what works best for your brand and consistently refine your strategy to experience success.

The best sales qualifying questions

In order to begin classifying the leads that come in from your website, you’re going to need to ask them the right questions. You’ll only need a few basic bits of information in order to consider a lead qualified. However, leads can get even warmer from there as well. The most important thing to ask is pretty obvious: What’s your website visitor’s name? From there you’ll also need to collect the individual’s contact information. Phone number and email work best.

But those are just the basics. Phone number, email, and name comprise the recipe for a lead. However, they’re not necessarily all the ingredients you’ll need for a qualified lead. This is especially important for businesses that operate locally or within a specific region. You can get someone’s contact information and name, but if he or she lives across the country, that person is not a qualified lead. Information like this is essential for many businesses to ensure their leads are worth pursuing. Here are some questions you should ask to ensure you’re getting the correct information from website visitors:

A checklist of questions can help you qualify website leads.
A checklist of questions can help you qualify website leads.

A better lead qualification process

The questions listed above will help you determine if a lead is worth pursuing or not. But, what’s the best way to get those questions answered? Just because your business wants that information from website visitors doesn’t mean they’re going to hand it over. You’ll have to find the right way to get the information you need. And these days that means offering omnichannel engagement capabilities. In other words: More than one way to reach your business.

Most websites already use the traditional lead-capture tools: form submissions, phone numbers and email addresses. These channels are extremely important, but they’re also often inaccessible. Businesses should also add 24/7 messaging capabilities to their websites to ensure they’re always available to connect with visitors. Live chat, text messaging and applications such as Messenger are the missing pieces to the online engagement puzzle. They allow people to connect with friends, family and businesses anytime and anywhere.

The comfort that comes with messaging a business eases any friction in the website visitor-to-lead conversion process. And that means businesses can capture more qualified leads from their websites by using these messaging channels. In fact, businesses that use live chat may capture up to 40 percent more leads from their websites. And often, for website chat specifically, around 40 percent of those leads are qualified, according to Blazeo’s (formerly ApexChat) internal data. When people are more comfortable communicating with your business, they’re more likely to provide the information you need. And with messaging, that’s exactly what happens.

Leveraging better lead qualification

With better lead capture tools and qualification questions in place your business is bound to capture more valuable leads from your website. And when your employees are drilling down on the right leads, they’re going to convert prospects into clients more often. That means a better return on advertising investments for your business.

That’s because your team won’t waste as much time on leads that were never going to convert anyway. That makes everyone’s jobs simpler, ensures easy wins for your employees and gets you more business per advertising dollar spent.

Interested in adding live chat to your website to get more qualified leads? Get a demo today.