Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification

Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification

Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification

Whether the prospect has come to you, or you have reached out to them, the first discovery call will be pivotal for your sales team.

During this call, you will be understanding your prospect’s intentions, their business, and any pain points that they are trying to overcome, etc.

At this point, you would want to assess your prospect against the solution you are offering and their ability and desire to purchase. And to do that proactively, you will need a well-thought-out sales qualification process while building a sales strategy.

In this ultimate guide to sales qualification, we’ll cover:

  • The top six sales qualification frameworks
  • Pro tips to improve your qualification
  • 22 important sales or sales qualification questions

We are taking you through each step of the process to help you successfully implement sales qualification best practices within your sales cycle.

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Qualify Leads with Different Sales Qualification Frameworks

When it comes to sales, nothing is more important than qualifying leads. You must evaluate your leads and see whether or not they are a good fit for your product or not before integrating them into your sales process.

To do so, you must first adhere to a sales qualification framework or ask them qualifying sales questions.

There are a variety of sales qualification frameworks available, but the most important thing is that you find one that works for you and your team.

It’s time to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to sales qualification and the best way to Qualify Your Leads is to customize your process according to your unique products, services, and target markets.

Here are six of the most popular sales qualification frameworks to qualify your leads with:

  1. BANT
  2. ANUM
  3. CHAMP
  4. GPCTBA/C&1
  5. MEDDICC
  6. FAINT

BANT

BANT is the most popular and go-to sales qualification framework to determine whether or not a potential customer is a qualified lead.

The acronym BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline.

The first step in using the BANT framework is to determine the budget of the potential customer. This can be done by asking questions about their current spending on similar products or services, their anticipated future budget, and whether or not they have the financial resources to make a purchase.

Once you have an understanding of the potential customer’s budget, you need to determine their authority to make a purchase. This can be done by asking questions about their role within the organization, their decision-making process, and who else needs to be involved in the decision.

After you have determined the budget and authority of the potential customer, you need to understand their need for the product or service. You will need to ask questions about the problem they are trying to solve, their current workarounds, and what would happen if they did not purchase your product or service.

Finally, you need to understand the timeline of the potential customer. Ask them questions about when they need the product or service, their current timeline for making a decision, and any upcoming milestones that might impact their timeline.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask according to the BANT framework.

BANT
Budget Authority Need Timeline
What Is The Budget Allocated For This Project? Do You Have The Authority To Make Decisions? Why Are You Addressing This Problem Now? How Soon Do You Want To See Results?
How Much Did You Spend On Other Similar Solutions In The Past? Who Else Has A Say In The Decision-Making Procedure? How Did You Find Out About Us? What Does Your Ideal Timeline Look Like?

ANUM

The ANUM framework is a popular tool used by sales professionals to determine whether or not a potential customer is a qualified lead. The acronym ANUM stands for Authority, Need, Urgency and Money.

This framework is slightly different from the BANT qualification framework in that it takes into account the customer’s urgency and money factors later into the stage and determines the lead’s level of authority, and their needs at the start of their conversation.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask during each stage of the ANUM framework:

ANUM
Authority Need Urgency Money
Do You Have The Authority To Make Decisions? How Did You Find Out About Us? How Soon Do You Want To See Results? What Is The Budget Allocated For This Project?
What issues are you anticipating in making this acquisition? How do you propose we handle them? What challenges are you struggling with? What else is a priority for you? Is this an important enough priority to allocate funds toward?

CHAMP

CHAMP, on the other hand, is comparable to ANUM in that it prioritizes Challenges ahead of Authority. CHAMP also refers to authority as a “call for action,” rather than a blockade.

Asking questions that assess the challenges of the lead helps identify any obstacles in your way of winning them over. And by figuring out what matters most to this person with authority over budget - not just money but also priorities - we’ll know if they’re someone we should be working hard on converting or giving up on altogether.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask during each stage of the CHAMP framework.

CHAMP
Challenges Authority Money Prioritization
What Problem Are You Trying To Address? Do You Have The Authority To Make Decisions? What Is The Budget Allocated For This Project? Are You Evaluating Any Other Solutions/Vendors?
Do you believe you have the internal capacity to tackle these problems? What issues are you anticipating in making this acquisition? How do you propose we handle them? Is this an important enough priority to allocate funds toward? What Are Your Top Priorities While Seeking A Solution?

GPCTBA/C&I

B2B-oriented, detailed, and intended to tie your company to the prospect’s goals and resources, this framework was developed at HubSpot for B2B marketers.

GPCTBA/C&I stands for Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority/Negative Consequences, and Positive Implications.

Buyers are more informed about products and services than ever before.

That’s why your sales team needs to provide extra value to buyers in order to stand out from the competition. Offering helpful advice and providing education are two great ways to do this.

Your team must know everything there is to know about the prospect’s business plan, goals, and how you may assist them in achieving a broad picture.

If your sales team has enough time and resources, implementing this framework should be a no-brainer. This will help improve customer satisfaction since you’re focusing on the wants and goals of your prospects.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask during each stage of the GPCTBA/C&I framework.

GPCTBA/C&I
Goals Plans Challenges Timeline Budget Authority Negative Consequences Positive Implications
Do you have specific company goals? What do you have planned to accomplish your goals? What Challenges Are You Trying To Address? How Soon Do You Want To See Results? What Is The Budget Allocated For This Project? Do You Have The Authority To Make Decisions? What Happens If You Do Nothing To Solve The Problem? What metric(s) would you use to evaluate our solution's effectiveness?
Do you have a quarterly/yearly revenue goal in place? Do you have the appropriate tools at your disposal to put this plan into action? Do you believe you have the internal capacity to tackle these challenges? What Does Your Ideal Timeline Look Like? How Much Did You Spend On Other Similar Solutions In The Past? Who Else Has A Say In The Decision-Making Procedure? Have you attempted to overcome these challenges before? What was the result of your previous attempt? What went wrong? What can we do to make this deal happen?

MEDDICC

The MEDDICC lead generating framework is focused on lengthy sales cycles and the value your product may provide to your prospect.

It stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, and Competition.

The MEDDICC framework is designed to help salespeople qualify their leads, by providing a detailed and systematic approach to understanding the customers’ needs.

The first step is to understand the customer’s metrics. What are their key performance indicators? What are their targets? How will your product help them achieve their goals?

Next, you need to identify the economic buyer. Who has the authority to make decisions around purchasing your product? Is there more than one decision maker involved?

Then, you need to understand the decision criteria. What factors are considered when making a purchase decision? Is price a major concern? Are there any other objections that need to be overcome?

After that, you need to understand the decision process. How does the customer typically make purchasing decisions? Is there a formal RFP process? Are there multiple rounds of decision-making?

The next step is to identify the pain. What problem is the customer trying to solve? What are the consequences of not solving that problem?

Then, you need to find the champion. Who is the internal advocate for your product? Who is championing its adoption within the organization?

Finally, you need to understand the competition. Who else is selling into this account? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How does your product compare?

If your product needs a change in behavior or has a high average sales price, you should consider using MEDDIC for qualifying your leads.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask during each stage of the MEDDIC framework.

MEDDICC
Metrics Economic Buyer Decision Criteria Decision Process Identify Pain Champion Competition
What metric(s) would you use to evaluate our solution's effectiveness? Are you one of the sponsors for this project? What technical specifications are necessary for you to make an informed decision? Who Else Has A Say In The Decision-Making Process? What Happens If You Do Nothing To Solve The Problem? Why is this person a champion? Do they have any influence? Who are we competing against?
What would a company's success be based on? How would you evaluate the success of this project? What is the return on investment (ROI) for this project to back up the expense? What does the approval process look like for $100K, $500K or $1 million? Have you attempted to overcome these challenges before? What was the result of your previous attempt? What went wrong? What is his/her personal interest? Why are we competing against them?

FAINT

FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing) is more or less closely related to BANT. The difference lies in the fact that BANT focuses on the budget but FAINT focuses on the company’s funds.

This framework acknowledges the fact that many purchases are unplanned and may not be made within their predetermined budget.

Marketers who use the FAINT method should look for companies with sufficient funds to buy, even if no specific budget has been set - what matters is that the company should be able to afford the solution.

FAINT also includes a second element, interest, in addition to the BANT components. It reflects a focus on generating interest from buyers about what is possible or How one might achieve new realities beyond today’s status quo.

This is an important stage since it can assist in determining whether or not there is a ‘fit’ between the buyer and seller.

Below you can find examples of all the questions you can ask during each stage of the FAINT framework.

FAINT
Funds Authority Interest Need Timing
What’s your revenue model look like? Is it self-sustaining or depends upon VC funding? Do you have authority on how these funds are allocated? Share a brief introduction about your business and your solution to spark interest amongst the leads. What do you think could solve this problem? How Soon Do You Want To See Results?
What is your business’s net worth? Are you one of the investors? Do you think our solution is a good fit for your needs? What Does Your Ideal Timeline Look Like?

Pro Tips to Improve Your Qualification Process

To improve your sales qualification process, there are a few key things you can do.

  1. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer. This will help you narrow down your leads and focus on those that are more likely to convert.

    Access our customer persona template to create your ideal customer profile.

  2. Create a scoring system that rates leads based on their potential value. This will help you prioritize your time and resources.

    Have a look at our sales maximizer playbook that we put together with the help of some of the industries most seasoned experts.

  3. Establish clear criteria for what makes a qualified lead. This will help you weed out those that aren’t a good fit for your products or services. That’s when you’ll need to adapt one of the qualification frameworks that we discussed earlier.

  4. Document the entire process so you can track and improve your results over time. And to help you with that, try investing in a Sales Enablement Tool.

30 Sales Qualification Questions To Ask Your Leads

  1. How Did You Find Out About Us?
  2. Do You Have The Authority To Make Decisions?
  3. Who Else Has A Say In The Decision-Making Procedure?
  4. When Do You Anticipate Making A Decision?
  5. What Does Your Ideal Timeline Look Like?
  6. What Problem Are You Trying To Address?
  7. Why Are You Addressing This Problem Now?
  8. Have You Attempted To Address This Problem Before?
  9. What Happens If You Do Nothing To Solve The Problem?
  10. Do you believe you have the internal capacity to tackle these problems?
  11. What Made You Reach Out To Our Business?
  12. Were You Satisfied With Your Previous Vendor?
  13. What Are Your Top Priorities While Seeking A Solution?
  14. What’s Your Preferred Way To Communicate Moving Forward?
  15. How Soon Do You Want To See Results?
  16. Are You Evaluating Any Other Solutions/Vendors?
  17. What Are The Other Stakeholders’ Thoughts On The Solution?
  18. What Is The Budget Allocated For This Project?
  19. How Much Did You Spend On Other Similar Solutions In The Past?
  20. Who Is In Charge Of The Budget?
  21. Would You Use This Product Every Day? Who In Your Team Would Utilize It On A Regular Basis?
  22. Do You Mind If I Followed Up On mm/dd/yyyy?
  23. How Do You Feel About Our Solution Based On Our Conversation?
  24. What metric(s) would you use to evaluate our solution’s effectiveness?
  25. Are you one of the sponsors for this project?
  26. Have you attempted to overcome these challenges before? What was the result of your previous attempt? What went wrong?
  27. What technical specifications are necessary for you to make an informed decision?
  28. What is the return on investment (ROI) for this project to back up the expense?
  29. What does the approval process look like for $100K, $500K or $1 million?
  30. What can we do to make this deal happen?

Understanding Sales Qualification

The qualification frameworks we’ve outlined are a great place to start when it comes to improving your qualification process.

However, remember that these are just guidelines; you need to find what works best for you and your business. What has worked well for you in the past?

Try testing out some new questions or approaches based on what we’ve talked about today. And don’t forget – always be prepared to ask the tough questions too!

By using these frameworks as a foundation and tweaking them to fit your specific needs, you can dramatically improve your sales results. What really matters is how you will put this information into action and start qualifying leads like a pro!