Have you ever felt that converting some qualified leads takes longer than others? You can boost your sales by hiring new sales reps, generating more leads, or increasing conversion. The last option is extraordinarily effective – it will simultaneously result in both lower costs and higher revenue. However, such optimization isn’t a one-time action but more of a process.

The BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline) framework is binary because it helps you decide whether a lead is worth pursuing or not. There are a couple of factors you can take into consideration to determine which leads should be placed in front of the others. With such data, you can put leads in the right order and gain knowledge on what to consider before the first contact with customers.

Inbound vs. outbound

sales teams or sales rep

If you receive an inquiry (inbound), you can assume that the prospect is facing a particular problem and is more or less aware of how your product/service works

When the contact is initiated by you (outbound), then it is likely that your potential client has never heard of your company. They are probably at an early stage in their customer journey which means that if you aren’t lucky enough and the timing is not perfect, you will have to help them discover their pain points first. Your main task will be to convince them that having a conversation with you is worth their time. Once you build trust, you may have a chance for exclusiveness. Whereas your inbound potential customer is probably in contact with a couple of your business competitors and will most likely choose the offer based on the proposed budget.

To gain a better understanding of your prospect, you can ask these questions:

  • Why did you decide to reply to my cold mail (or cold call)?
  • Why did you decide to reach us right now?
  • Why did you decide to follow the recommendation now?

Those questions will help you understand what motivates the lead. Usually, you will get one of three answers:

  • A compliment – they tell you that you have great case studies, a good track record and reputation, or an extensive portfolio.
  • Insight into what you are doing well – for example they wanted to talk to you because they found your cold e-mail funny.
  • Insight about the customer’s pain – they wanted to get in touch now because the problem you can help them solve is reaching a boiling point.
lead prioritization system in sales teams

The sales process requires a decision maker

The CEO, CMO, and HR Director (even in the same company) have different points of view and priorities. Let’s assume that CEOs think about growth, CMOs consider a marketing presence and generating leads, and HR Directors try to ensure a friendly atmosphere and maintain high motivation among the employees. Of course, this is a general simplification – you can meet, for instance, an HR-oriented CEO. 

However, it is your job to understand your customer’s unique perspective and their pain points. Prospects’ needs should be addressed – to make them interested, highlight the different results of using your product or service.

Localization/lead source

The country of your lead origin can help you predict what you can expect from them. Each country has its own specifics and your lead generation strategy should meet their purchase criteria.

Once you know where the process of closing a deal is fastest, focus on that market. Get to know your deal sizes and choose areas with deals of a higher value. When you discover which countries’ customers tend not to pay on time, charge them upfront. Or maybe… it would be a good move to consider introducing advance payments for all transactions.

prioritize sales leads in lead generation

Has your lead ever used a solution similar to yours?

A company that used to cooperate with one of your competitors is usually more insightful when it comes to your solution – they use or have used something similar, know how it works, and can compare it to your solution

The previous supplier might have generated good or bad customer experiences which you should ask about and clarify if needed. Usually, those who buy a certain product/service for the first time need more interest and education from the salespeople, so be prepared for longer sales cycles and put more effort into working with these clients.

Thanks to the lead qualification process, you will have more data – it will allow you to prioritize sales leads and decide which of your clients are most eager to cooperate. With this information, you will know which leads should be your priority and where to double your efforts.

Does your potential client employ a specialist from your field?

Let’s say that your product solves an HR problem. To ease the decision-making process, it is advisable to check, for instance, on Linkedin whether your potential customer employs HR specialists. 

This information will help you adjust communication and manage the sales conversation more effectively. By having these details and getting to know the decision makers (another BANT criterion), you will know which sales leads are more important than others.

sale reps spending time on lead qualification

The size of the deal

Taking into consideration all those factors, you will be able to estimate how long and labor-intensive the sales process will be. Compare it with the value of the potential deal. It will help you easily calculate the profits and decide whether prioritizing a particular lead is worthwhile or not.

Remember that there are no two companies that are exactly the same, so some of the above factors will be more relevant than others. Use them as inspiration and find the factors unique to your particular situation.

By qualifying leads with the four BANT criteria, for instance, you will be able to quickly estimate how important a given lead is and the likelihood of potential cooperation. If you have a sales team – collecting data while lead scoring will help them assess who performs the best when it comes to a particular group of leads and then effectively relocate the sales opportunities to the appropriate sales reps.

Then you will never find yourself in a situation where there is no one to take care of a new sales lead that has just shown interest in the company’s portfolio.