There are seven defined stages of the sales cycle. We’ll cover every step in this blog series, starting with prospecting. Learn all about the do’s and don’ts of qualifying sales prospects properly.


Are You and Your Prospect Compatible?

It seems like a simple question, but the answer is often complicated. Learning how to qualify a sales lead properly can impact the success of an individual, team and company. That’s why finding out your prospect’s compatibility with what you’re looking for in a lead is crucial. Take note of these do’s and don’ts of the vetting process.

Don’t: Go after every opportunity.
Do: Identify the best fit and use of time.

Evaluate your prospect’s likelihood of becoming a customer. To do this, you must determine if they are viable. One approach to qualification is BANT (budget, authority, need and timeline):

  • Do they have the budget for your solution?
  • Does the lead have the authority to make a decision?
  • Is there a true need for your product?
  • What is the prospect’s timeline?

By answering these questions, you can identify the most viable opportunities. This evaluation allows you to put the right amount of time and resources toward certain prospects over others.

quote icon

Expert Advice

“I start by thinking about our key customer profile and searching for prospects that are well-aligned. I ask myself, ‘Is this a prospect that I want to spend my time with, and can I truly make a difference for them?’”

Todd Kalman, SVP of Sales, Marketron

Don’t: Prospect companies with red flags.
Do: Create an ideal client profile.

If some of the advertisers on your list just don’t fit in the BANT assessment, it’s a red flag. They may check some boxes but not others. Instead, define your ideal client profile. Then, determine the “make” and “break” factors that are good predictors of a successful relationship.

Creating your ideal buyer requires research of the industry, current digital marketing trends and other factors. Once you’ve constructed this, qualify your leads, and eliminate any that miss the cut. Focus your energy and time on qualifying the remainder, and invest in yourself. In most industries, the key account profile will offer a “target-rich” environment.

quote icon

Expert Advice

“We can’t assume that a business owner wants (or needs) to grow. Many are content with the status quo. Figure out as much about the right potential prospect for you as possible beforehand. Discover what makes them tick, what defines success for them, and from there, you’ll know what solution is ideal for their needs.”

Jeff Ulrich, Senior Manager of Digital Transformation, Marketron

Don’t: Make conversations feel like interrogations.
Do: Ask qualifying questions to engage prospects.

It’s good practice to assume nothing about your prospects. Do your homework up front, and perform as much research as possible. Then, ask crucial qualifying questions, but don’t move too quickly. It could make your prospects uncomfortable. Doing this is a delicate balance, so be an active listener, and give the person your full attention.

quote icon

Expert Advice

“My goal is to uncover their pain points by asking the right questions and truly listening to their answers to break down the walls that some prospects build up. From there, search for two solid areas of need. Once you designate those areas, you can create a solution — and deliver real results.”

Karen Martinelli, Digital Sales and Marketing Manager, Today Media

Get More Prospecting Do’s, Don’ts and Expert Advice

Beyond BANT, there are other methods to help you, including MEDDIC (metrics, economic buyer, decision process, decision criteria, identify pain, champion). What are the best questions to ask to determine if the lead is sales-ready? To get this exclusive content, download the e-book, 7 Stages of the Sales Cycle: How to Master Each Step and Capture More Business.

7 stages e-book