So You’ve Qualified Your Prospect (Here’s What NOT to Do)

We all make mistakes…

Even the most experienced of us.

One of the most common? Letting a qualified prospect fall through the cracks, never to be seen again.

This can happen in a number of ways. The good news, though: all of these pitfalls are avoidable — if you’re consciously aware of them.

Below are five common ways a qualified prospect can fall through the cracks (and what to do instead).

1. The prospect’s activity was ignored.

Reps who don’t respond to inbound leads, referrals, or prospects opening emails or visiting your website miss out on potential buyers who are actively expressing interest.

Unfortunately, salespeople tend to prioritize leads based on when they come into their pipeline. However, a great prospect shouldn’t be pursued based on their title, how they look on paper, or how long they’ve been in the pipeline. A qualified prospect should be pursued based on the amount of interest they express.

When a prospect downloads an ebook, opens a sales email, or views your pricing page, they’re raising their hand. Failing to note this critical activity means a qualified prospect just fell through the cracks.

2. An introductory email wasn’t sent fast enough.

Timing is everything. A prospect can also fall through the cracks because they weren’t contacted at the height of their interest.

According to the Lead Response Management Study, when an inbound lead is contacted within five minutes of visiting a website, reps are 100 times more likely to connect with them.

Wait at your own peril. The odds of connecting drop 400% if a rep responds in 10 minutes instead of 5 — and 1,000% if they wait an hour.

Time is of the essence. Reach out to inbound leads ASAP… or risk losing them forever.

3. You lost track of where the prospect was in the funnel.

Losing track of where a prospect is in the funnel can mean a qualified prospect doesn’t get what they need when they need it.

In the early stages of the sales process, a lead might be looking for more information — and not receiving it — because the rep thinks the prospect is at a later stage in the buying journey.

To avoid this problem, it’s important to use your CRM and sales engagement tools to keep the deal moving forward. Make sure you send an initial email or a bottom-of-the-funnel piece of content when the prospect is likely expecting it.

4. The prospect didn’t receive a follow-up email.

Whether it’s after a discovery call or a product demonstration, not following up with a qualified prospect results in an uncomfortable limbo situation — neither party is sure what to do next.

By forgetting to send a follow-up email, a prospect can feel as if the rep has forgotten about them and simply move on.

Don’t let a forgotten email kill a deal. Send a follow-up email after every touch with reminders about what was discussed and a clear set of options for the prospect going forward.

5. You didn’t provide value.

When a rep doesn’t provide value, their sales touches are more annoying than useful. Always remember, a qualified prospect could convert at any point. Any touch could be the deciding moment.

Consistently low-value touches can make the buyer dread hearing from the rep and result in a lost prospect.

To provide value in every touch, include pieces of blog content, testimonials, and customer reviews. The goal of every touch should be to educate the prospect and provide new information about the rep’s product.

How to Keep Your Qualified Prospect

Unfortunately, things fall through the cracks more often than we’d like — and that’s a part of life.

When it comes to sales, however, there are steps you can take to ensure you qualified prospects aren’t left behind.

To keep your qualified prospect, focus on building relationship:

  1. Pay attention to their behavior.
  2. Engage them at every opportunity.
  3. Send appropriate touches for their stage in the pipeline.
  4. Always follow up with the next step.
  5. Provide real value at every touch.

Getting a qualified prospect is challenging enough. Keeping them… well… that’s just common sense.

Mike is a Customer Success Manager at HubSpot. He is a People person, data-driven, always learning and helping companies grow better.

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