Get to Grips with Sales Qualification

Sophia Obrecht
August 13, 2021

Learn how to improve your qualification calls. We've put together the most important insights on sales qualification to get you started.

Sales qualification is an important part of your sales process. It can help you determine which sales leads to pursue and which leads are low quality and worth ignoring. To help you get to grips with sales qualification we have put together a short reference guide.

In this article you will learn...

  • What is lead qualification?
  • Why is sales qualification important? 
  • How do I qualify a sales lead?
  • Sales qualification questions.
  • Sales qualification frameworks.
  • Sales technology to assist qualification calls. 

What is lead qualification?

Sales qualification is the process of determining if a lead is a viable sales opportunity or prospect.

Lead qualification usually takes the form of a discovery or sales call in which sales professionals ask a series of questions to discover if a lead fits the criteria to move forward in the sales funnel. This criteria usually centers on discovering if a lead is in the right industry, company size, even budget range, to invest time and sales resources. A sales qualification call also gives leads the opportunity to ask initial questions to decide if they want to move forward in the buying process. 

Why is sales qualification important?

Sales qualification is an important stage of your sales process because it allows you to fast stream leads that have the potential to end in a sale. By qualifying your sales opportunities you end up accelerating your sales cycles because you spend time nurturing and selling to high quality as opposed to a high quantity of poor quality leads. Sales qualification saves you time and resources and increases the chance of closing deals with your qualified leads. 

How do I qualify a sales lead?

To qualify a sales lead you need to ask a series of questions that will help you determine whether or not a lead meets your qualification criteria. 

Your qualification criteria should include company size, industry and budget, as well as readiness to buy and decision making or buying power.  During your qualification call you must ensure that a sales lead has the potential to be profitable, you must consider if a company has long-term partnership potential, and you must define the buying process for a lead and investigate if your current contact has buying power.

A qualified lead should...

  • Have done some of their own research and are in control of buying.
  • Know what they need in a solution, or be ready to learn from a product specialist.
  • Have clearly defined a budget.

An unqualified….

  • Doesn’t know what to look for in a solution.
  • Are unsure of what your company has to offer.
  • Doesn’t have a budget and / or authority to get budget.
  • They have not been nurtured enough around the sales cycle. 

Sales qualification questions.

Still not sure how to qualify a sales lead with the right questions? We’ve put together a list of sample sales qualification questions to help you run through your lead criteria during your qualification calls relating to the key points of any basic qualification structure. 

1. Questions to discover challenges and pain points (I.e. is your product a good fit for your lead and how urgently do they need a solution) 

 “What are the challenges your company is facing? “How long have you been experiencing this problem?” 

2. Questions to: Investigate the buying process

“How are the purchasing decision in your company made, especially with products and services like ours?” “Is there anybody else that needs to be part of this buying process?” 

3. Questions to help you ask about the budget.

“Do you already have a budget allocated for a solution?” “What is the process for approval for investments beyond the allocated budget?” 

4. Questions to discover if your product/solution is a high priority.

“When would you like to see this problem solved?” “When is the latest you’d like to make a decision by?”

For more help improving your sales questions, here are the 15 best sales questions to ask during your customer qualification calls.

Sales qualification frameworks. 

Sales frameworks are a great tool to help you with your qualification calls. They help ensure that you stay on track with your questions and provide a foolproof structure for your sales qualification calls. There are a number of different sales qualification frameworks. We’ve chosen to focus on three of our favorites: the CHAMP, BANT, and MEDDIC frameworks. 

Here's a rundown of how each framework lays out the structure of a sales qualification call. 

The CHAMP sales qualification framework.

The CHAMP framework follows the following structures for the types of questions a sales rep asks in a call to determine if your sales lead meets your qualification criteria. 

The CHAMP framework stands for...

CHallenges : What are your sales lead’s key challenges, can your solution/product solve these challenges?

Authority: Does your sales lead have the authority to make buying decisions? If not, who does?

Money: What budget do they have available for your solution? 

Prioritization: How quickly does your sales lead want to solve their challenge? Is your product a priority?

The BANT sales qualification framework.

The BANT template is also a frequently used framework for qualification calls. It has a similar goal as the CHAMP frameworks but takes a different approach and structure, focusing on Budget first and timeline and need later in the call or meeting structure. 

The BANT framework stands for...

Budget: Is there a budget for your services? What is the budget?

Authority: Does your sales lead have the authority to make buying decisions? If not, who does?

Need: What is your lead’s use case and pain points? Do they have a need for your product and how urgent is the need?

Timeline: What kind of timeline do they see for the implementation of your product? Is there a timeline?

The MEDDIC sales qualification framework. 

MEDDIC is a modified more in-depth version of the BANT and CHAMP frameworks with the goal of a more thorough sales qualification process. The MEDDIC framework ensures in-depth investigation into a lead and can benefit sales reps working in complex or enterprise sales. 

MEDDIC stands for...

Metrics: What goals does your sales lead have, how do they measure success? 

Economic buyer: Does your sales lead have buying power? If not, who is the economic buyer and what is the general buying process? 

Decision criteria: How will your lead make their purchase decisions? What criteria do they take into consideration?

Decision process: How will your contact come to their final decision? What other stages are part of their decision process?

Identify pain: What are your sales lead’s main pain points?

Champion: Identify who your key contact or champion is? What is their role, do they benefit personally from the product? Use them are a point of contact to try and drive interest from others in the decision process. 

Want to learn more about the specifics of sales qualification? Download our free guide on How to Have the Perfect Qualification Call with a complete and detailed rundown of the CHAMP frameworks, plus extra tips and tricks!

Sales technology to assist with sales qualification.

To help you get a head start with your qualification calls you can use sales technology in the form of conversation intelligence platforms. Conversation intelligence software is designed to help improve your sales calls with feedback and analytics, as well as call guidance to make sure you are asking the right qualification questions at the right point in your call. Call guidance also helps to make sure you don’t miss any important information that you need to qualify a lead. 

At Ciara, we believe sales conversations are at the heart of sales success, and so our voice-powered meeting assistant is designed specifically to work in real-time during your call. Based on real-time conversation analysis, Ciara automatically tracks which criteria or keywords have already been identified, to help you move your qualification forward. The software then automatically documents all of your critical call insights, providing feedback on how well you performed during your call.

With our unique Deal Maps, Ciara also helps to outline the qualification criteria for the whole team to ensure that every rep has this criteria accessible to them during their sales meetings. Deal maps provide you with auto-updated overviews of your deals, using real-time insights taken from your sales meetings. That means your whole team - SDR, AE, and manager – can access deal details making for smoother handovers! 

Think our conversation intelligence platform Ciara might be the right fit to boost your sales qualification success? Learn more about our product here

Or why not test Ciara out for yourself with our free trial (no credit card required!)

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