30+ sales lead qualification questions to ask prospects

More than 60% of deals are thwarted because leads have not been qualified correctly.

To avoid this happening with you, it is necessary to make a clear plan of action, conduct detailed research information about leads, and, of course, ask the right questions to potential customers.

We will help you not to become a part of this sad statistics and minimize the risk of deal breakdowns. How will we do that?

First, we'll cover the basics – we'll cover the qualifying questions definition and the sales qualification procedure, we'll talk about the importance of questions in this process, and we'll give you 32 qualifying questions examples that will make it easier for you to determine whether you're talking to a prospect or not.

What is sales qualification?

Sales qualification process is a technique by which you understand who from the list of leads matches your ICP and who doesn’t.

With sales qualification, you can categorize leads. For example, put those who want to become your customer now in a separate category, those who are not yet interested in an immediate purchase due to lack of budget or waiting for approval from someone on the team, so on.

Note. Not everyone who shows interest in a product or service is ready to make a purchase.

Why do you need a sales qualification?

Lead qualification is an important part of the work between marketing and sales that allows you to close more deals with less effort.

Shorten the deal cycle

Sales won't have to figure out every time who they are dealing with: a potential buyer or a person/company that isn't going to buy anything.

Find out if your product is needed

It will become known whether the potential customer has a problem that your product can solve.

Make contact with the right people

Find out whom to offer your products and services in the first place. To avoid wasting time talking to a company representative who is not responsible for product purchasing decisions.

Segment customers faster

This will build the right communication with leads by personalizing each individual segment.

Get more long-term customers

Since proper attention will be paid to the people who are really ready to make a deal, you have a better chance of not only selling a product, but also of getting more long-term customers.

All of these benefits will give you an increase in managerial productivity, a significant savings in time, money, and more opportunities.

What are qualifying questions in sales? 

Qualifying questions in sales are those questions that help determine whether leads meet the set of qualities/goals that are spelled out in your strategy for qualifying leads.

According to statistics, only 3% of them will be ready for the deal immediately. With someone else, you need to conduct a series of conversations about the purchase, and the rest will need to be sent to the lead nurturing.

But don’t worry about the fact that as much as 56% of potential clients will fall into the nurturing. As a rule, most of them sooner or later will become your customers, provided consistent, proper work with them.

Why is the method of sales qualifying questions so significant?

Sales qualification leads by B2B qualifying questions are important because they are one of the most effective ways to screen the most viable leads. Besides, with the right questions, you can

  • learn more about your target audience,

  • personalize the data you receive,

  • better understand what solutions they are looking for their business,

  • find out which lead responses best fit your business,

  • and which of the leads fit the company's ICP description.

Develop a system for evaluating leads beforehand. In your sales strategy, write out this point in more detail, and cover such questions as – what are your various buyer personas – positions, problems, working goals, and so on.

So, before we get to the list of qualifying sales questions, and your interpretation of them in your way, it's first worth knowing what the qualification checklist looks like and why it's needed.

Prospect qualification checklist

Prospect qualification checklist is needed so that at the end, after contacting leads, you can qualify them. You have to answer the questions on this checklist for yourself, having all the information you have already gathered about the leads.

An example of a sales qualification checklist and why these items are needed in the assessment

After qualifying potential customers, you should know:

Is this person a final decision maker?

You need to communicate with the right people to close the deal. If a potential customer needs to approve everything with other people to make a decision, it's better to find out right away. Otherwise you might be wasting your time.

But if you communicated with the decision maker, put a plus sign on that point.

Is the lead interested in your product/services?

Not everyone who has shown interest in your product really wants to become your client.

Maybe it's a competitor who collects information about your company and product or a lead that is only interested in free features. For example, they want to get an e-book for a subscription or receive a newsletter with useful content, and that's it.

In such a case, you cannot name such leads as qualified, and they are dropped from the list.

Will the potential customer's company need your product? Would it be useful?

Without making sure that what you sell will really be helpful to some of the leads, you can waste a lot of time working with them for nothing. This means that you will lose time that you could have spent on real buyers.

Only if your solution is really 100% useful to the lead, you can put a check in this item.

Is this solution needed now or in the long run?

It is necessary to disclose this question in order to understand whether the lead is ready to make a purchase now. Otherwise, your communication about the deal could take much  longer, and there is a risk that the sale won't go through in the end.

If the person is not ready to make a purchase, you cannot consider them as a qualified lead yet.

Do they have enough budget for the deal?

It's clear why this part of the evaluation is essential. If the lead can't handle your product financially, then there's nothing to talk about.  Such potential customers will not make the list of qualified leads.

But don't ruin your relationship with the person, even if they don't have the budget for your solution.

Remember. A good reputation comes first. And who knows, maybe that lead will be able to recommend you to someone who will have the opportunity to make a deal with you.

The categories that list of qualifying sales questions is divided into

You can categorize qualifying sales leads questions according to the ANUM sales process – Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money.

Authority 

If you are communicating with the right person. This contact may not be responsible for the company's final decision making regarding the purchase of the product/service.

This is where you need to find out who makes the final decision and get that person's contact. Or, if more than one person makes the decision, contact all of them and talk to each of them.

Need

If your product/service solves your leads' problems. Learn more about your potential customers' businesses, research their industry, learn about their pain points. That way, you can see if you'll be useful. 

Urgency

Find out what is going on in the lead's company. Perhaps now the potential client's company is going through structural changes, transformation, and so on. 

Such additional data can help you learn more about how important it is for the lead to solve their issue.

Money

Find out with help of sales qualifying questions what the potential client's budget for the product is. This part of communication needs to be approached very carefully. 

Beforehand, you need to find out what products the lead is using now. And then what their perfect price range is for similar solutions. You can also get a rough estimate of their budget by going into their business profile before you ask questions about their finances in person.

If you establish good contact with the lead by this stage, you can negotiate a deal at this stage, even if your prospects budget is lower than necessary. 

32 qualifying questions examples

Type 1. Authority: Are you communicating with the right person?

  • What is your role/responsibility in the company?
  • What is your company's organizational structure?
  • How have you made decisions to purchase products similar to ours in the past?
  • Who makes the final decision to buy solutions like ours?
  • Who determines the criteria for making purchase decisions?
  • With whom can I discuss a possible deal?
  • Are you the only one responsible for the buying decision or someone else?
  • Can you give me contacts of those others responsible for the decision so I can arrange a call for all of us?
  • What do you think might discourage your colleagues from making a positive decision toward the product?

Type 2. Need: Does the lead need your solution?

  • What issue is there in your company/department right now?
  • How long has the problem been going on?
  • What caused the problem? Why do you think it is worth your time?
  • How much does it interfere with your productivity?
  • Why are you looking for a solution now?
  • Tell us about the process, where and how you encounter the issue?
  • What are your company/department's short- and long-term goals?
  • What is preventing you from achieving your KPIs?
  • What else besides this problem interferes with your productivity and your team?
  • What do you think your workflow would look like if you could solve the problem from today?

Type 3. Urgency: How quickly is the lead ready to close the deal?

  • Do you have an urgent need to solve a problem?
  • What period of time have you set aside to find the product/services?
  • What awaits your company/department if the issue is not resolved promptly?
  • Are you considering other products/services?
  • What is the deadline for making a decision?
  • How much of a priority is finding this solution, or are there other problems that need to be solved urgently?
  • Do you have the ability to implement this product as soon as possible?

Type 4. Money: Does the prospect have a budget to buy the product/services?

  • Is spending on this solution a priority right now?
  • What is the process for getting approval for the purchase from your management?
  • What other decisions are you budgeting for?
  • How much does seasonality affect your budget allocation for the products your company/department needs?
  • Do you have the funds for that product/service?
  • Is it possible to know what your budget is for the solution?

Well, now you have all the qualifying questions for increase sales and you can take the ones that suit you right now or modify them to be a part of your sales strategy.

Status of leads in your CRM before and after B2B qualifying questions

Before we get to the status, let's make it clear one more time.

You don't need to call and ask all 32 B2B qualifying questions to a lead right away. These questions can be found over the course of a long recce. Some of the answers can be found on the person's LinkedIn profile, some can be found through surveys in email newsletters, and some through surveys on the website.

As part of the information «‎Email address, Location, Postal code, more company and list of employees»‎ you can find out with the GetProspect Contact Enrichment tool. To do this, you need to run a data search by entering the Lead Name and Domain.

Then, you can contact prospects to get answers to those sales qualifying questions  where you have gaps.

And now, let's move on to the statuses in your CRM, allowing you to lay out all the processes.

Statuses that may be in your CRM for all processes «‎qualifying questions for sales leads»‎ from beginning to end

Even the best qualifying questions for sales won't help qualify leads and increase sales if you don't keep records of lead status in your CRM. There is no success in chaos. So take this point seriously. It's important even if you work for a small company and don't have many customers yet.

Statuses of the lead qualification process

Status 1. Contact us: Who showed interest in your company?

This status includes Research Qualified Leads. We are talking about those potential customers who responded to your cold outreach emails, filled out a form on your website, or contacted your company in any other way.

Status 2. Marketing Qualified Leads: Who are partially qualified?

At this point, you should enter those potential customers who fit you in at least two points ANUM.

Status 3. Call: Who moved on to the final stage of qualification?

In this column, in the final qualification of the lead stage, enter the leads with whom you need to urgently establish communication and find out whether it is worth moving to the following status.

Status 4. Sales Qualified Leads: Who passed the final stage of qualification?

Here you need to put those contacts that, after the calls, fit all the criteria of ANUM sales method.

Statuses after the lead qualification process

Status 1. Negotiation: Who moved into the deal negotiation process?

This item includes potential clients who have already qualified, those prospectuses with whom there is already a discussion of the details of the transaction.

Status 2. Closed Deal: Who has already made a purchase?

Here will be all the leads that made the deal. At this point, you can't just sigh and rejoice, because the work with them doesn't stop. You have to work regularly to maintain a good relationship with them, so that additional sales are possible.

Status 3. Contact in the future: Who should be returned to the lead nurturing stage?

As we said earlier, there will be enough leads who are not ready for a deal right away and will have to be brought back to the lead nurturing stage.

There will be contacts who are interested in buying, but only in the long term, and there will also be leads who will ask to contact them after a certain period of time.

For such potential clients, you will need to run newsletters from time to time with information about the company (new products, news, hot offers, useful blog posts, successful cases), invite them to webinars, offer eBooks to whet their interest in you and in parallel onboarding on the product and topic.

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Summary

  • Sales qualification process is a technique by which you understand who from the list of leads matches your ICP and who doesn’t.
  • Sales qualification is an important part of the work because it helps to close more deals with less effort.
  • Lead qualification questions method is significant because they are one of the most effective ways to screen the most viable leads, learn more about your target audience, personalize the data you receive, better understand what solutions they are looking for their business, find out which lead responses best fit your business, and which of the leads fit the company's ICP description.
  • Prospect qualification checklist is needed so that at the end, after contacting leads,  after asking them your best B2B sales qualifying questions, you can classify them.
  • You can categorize your qualifying prospect qualifying questions according to the ANUM sales process – Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money.