Generating leads is a concern for every business with an online presence. Leads are people who investigate your brand, but have not yet converted into paying customers. They may explore your website, check out your products, or read your blog. The question is: Which of the many leads that enter your digital conversion funnel are actually going to convert?

To answer that question, you must go through the process of qualifying leads. A qualified lead is someone who has the resources and motivation to become a customer, while an unqualified lead is someone who is merely curious and unlikely to convert. So, how can you identify qualified leads in your online funnel? How do you know which leads to nurture or approach? As you might guess, this process requires finess and insight. Let’s dive into seven ways to qualify your leads.


Define a Qualified Lead for Your Business

Define what makes a qualified lead. You might want to use a marketing persona or three to outline what qualified leads look like. Are they decision-makers in a business, homeowners with a problem, or kids with pocket money? What makes them different from qualified leads? What will motivate them to buy or determine their ability to close the deal?

The answers to these questions will be shaped by the products and services specifically provided by your business. You are not just defining a customer profile, but the motivations behind someone who is not yet a customer.


1) Set Up Resources for Lead Self-Qualification

In the old days, sales teams might actively qualify a lead through outreach and even phonecalls. But people don’t like that kind of selling anymore. They don’t want to be bothered during their investigation stage. They want to find their own solutions and, if they are motivated to buy, they will buy. This means the best way to qualify leads is to set up online resources so leads can qualify themselves.

The following strategies spotlight how to identify qualified leads based on the way they interact with your company’s online resources.


2) The Links They Follow and Topics They Investigate

Often, a lead is qualified by a problem then need solved. For example, a homeowner who reads three different blogs about plumbing leaks is more likely to need a repair than someone who casually browses your blogs on trending faucet finishes. Targeted links, landing pages, and the way visitors seek answers through your information center can tell you if a lead has a problem that your company is equipped to solve.

This is why many brands offer repair, replacement, and problem-related blogs among their more evergreen content.


3) The Guides and EBooks They Download

Gated downloadable content is a great way to qualify leads. Gated content typically requires a new visitor to enter their email address in order to gain access to a downloadable guide, diagram, or e-book. The willingness to go through this extra step instead of clicking away can indicate that the lead is motivated to learn or find a solution beyond casual curiosity.


4) The Way They Use Your Free Tools

Offering calculators and other handy online tools can qualify leads based on what your leads use the tools for. Let’s say you offer a calculator that estimates the cost of repainting a home based on the number of rooms and dimensions. If a lead goes through the trouble of entering the dimensions of their home, choosing paint types, or tries several different choice calculations, they are more likely to be someone who needs house painting.

Calculators are also a great way to gather some preliminary information about your leads without the presentation of often-discarded survey questions.


5) What They Ask Your Chatbot

Chatbots have become a leading method for lead qualification, providing a friendly and conversational front for leads with questions. A chatbot can engage with leads, greeting them as they enter your website, asking what they need, and providing basic information without the annoyance risk of your typical popup or survey.

Many leads will share their needs and interests with a chatbot, providing excellent lead-qualifying information. The chatbot, in return, helps each lead further down the funnel by offering personalized information and tips. Your chatbot might even sign up the lead or book an appointment if equipped with the right back-end apps.


6) The Way They Build a Cart or Wishlist

For e-commerce stores and B2B vendors, lead qualification can come from the way they build a cart — with or without making an account first. Someone who builds a wishlist or a cart with practical items is more likely to convert and complete their purchase in the near future.  You can try to directly engage online shoppers while they are on-site or reach out with an abandoned cart reminder a few hours later.


7) The Information They Share When Signing Up

Lastly, the ideal lead qualification comes from leads who willingly give their information while making an account, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting an estimate. Not all industries support this method and not all leads are willing to share, but you will likely get the most direct qualification information if your leads are willing to sign up and provide key information in the process.


Turning Qualified Leads Into Customers

Once you have identified your qualified leads, the next step depends on your ideal conversion funnel and customer relationship style. It’s up to you to decide how to approach qualified leads through personalized online experiences or direct contact with your sales team in order to best convert them into customers.

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