"Qualified leads"  written on paper

Can Learning & Development Help Sales Qualify leads?

"Qualified leads"  written on paper

Guest Post by Kim Henderson

The staffing industry is a fast-paced environment where Account Managers must have a thorough understanding of the prospects' business objectives, and where they are in the buying process. When either of these is unclear, your sales team could find themselves wasting an enormous amount of time on unqualified leads. 

Why is it important to qualify leads?

Only 21 percent of leads turn into sales opportunities, according to MarketingSherpa. In a study by Implisit Insights, the gathered data suggest an even smaller number of conversions, with just 13% of leads converting to opportunities. Despite data and intuition showing that some leads are better than others, it is likely your sales force struggles to prioritize good leads over bad ones. When your team pursues leads that aren’t a fit for your organization, they squander energy and resources.

Qualifying your new business opportunities often involves asking a series of questions to obtain the data you need. Nearly three out of four prospects feel their needs aren't met on the first phone call because the salesperson is eager to qualify the opportunity. A sales professional must determine how to obtain the qualifying information they need while ensuring the potential buyer is a legitimate prospect without alienating them.

By prioritizing leads, you can focus your efforts on contacting the most “likely to buy” ones first. How do you find customer pain though? One of the most important interactions a salesperson can have with a potential customer is the discovery conversation. You and your prospect are at a crossroad - either they are a match for your service that merits taking the next step, or it's time for you both to part ways. Unfortunately, no staffing company is a fit for all prospective clients.  This realization is difficult to recognize if you don’t have the internal capabilities to develop a successful sales qualification process, and train employees on ways to use it to achieve their productivity goals.

While most teams are aware of the sources of their best leads, without proper training, process, and structure for sales lead management, employees spread their effort equally across all leads. It's counter-intuitive to give up on a prospect that has shown interest in your company, but we need to execute a disciplined technique and only work on qualified leads. When you ask the right questions and uncover prospect pain, you will be able to determine whether or not the relationship should continue and what the appropriate next steps are if a deal is ultimately feasible. An experienced Learning & Development resource can train on the fundamentals of sales qualification, show the sales force the different frameworks to use, and provide pointers on disqualification and conversational tip-offs. 

Taking the next step

The workforce has likely changed forever. Once your viable prospect has turned into a client, it is important to coach the client to be flexible on candidate skill sets, rates, experience, and the interview process. As we come out of the pandemic, we have to learn a new way of doing business. Candidates are less tolerant of outdated expectations but at the same time, many companies are resisting the inevitable changes. A Learning & Development resource can align your teams’ expectations with the market, and help them achieve results within the boundaries of the market conditions. 

How will you leverage L&D to propel your sales team to new heights? 

*This article was originally posted here The Staffing Stream

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