Characteristics of a Qualified Prospect

Tell apart qualified prospects with these factors.
qualifying prospects cover photo
There's no point in a farmer selling their oranges to a butcher's shop.

In the same vein, there's no point in trying to sell or connect with an unqualified prospect in the world of B2B SaaS sales.

Spending too much time on what eventually turns out to be a bad fit is a nightmare for anyone in sales.

Instead, salespeople aim for qualified prospects.

In this article, we'll delve deep into how you can tell those qualified prospects apart to increase your chances of closing the deal significantly.

Let's go!

What is a Qualified Prospect?

A qualified prospect is a potential customer who has been thoroughly evaluated to ensure they have a genuine need for your product or service, along with the power and budget to make a purchase.

Qualifying a prospect involves gathering important information such as business goals, pain points, and decision-making processes.

Once a prospect is identified as a good-fit, they are handed off to an SDR who can engage with them more personally to close the deal. Qualified prospects are high-quality leads more likely to convert into paying customers, making them a priority target for sales efforts.

But what factors or characteristics can you look for to qualify your prospects?

Characteristics of a Qualified Prospect

As a salesperson, a qualified prospect comes with certain characteristics that you can keep an eye on as you move them through the sales funnel.

To determine whether a prospect is qualified, you want to make sure they show the following factors:

Clear Pain Points

Put another way, you want to ask yourself: do they have a very clear need and use for your product or service?

Without a clear necessity, the likelihood of them buying from you is lowered significantly. One of the top priorities of any salesperson is to quickly determine if a prospect has such a need.

During discovery, salespeople ask probing questions such as:

  • What is the magnitude of your problem?
  • Have you tried to solve it before?
  • What happens if it can't be properly solved?

If the answers to these questions are blanket statements, they do not have a need for your product or service just yet. The probability of you being able to nurture them into a closed and won deal has decreased.

Qualified prospects typically need you to help them solve their problems quickly. They have very clear goals in mind when answering such questions, as they are very aware of what they need. Sometimes they're aware, but they might be unclear on the timeline, so following-up at another time is not a bad idea. Keeping them separate from your unqualified prospects to re-contact in the future will help you build a pipeline later on.

When asking these questions, then, you're looking for very specific and detailed answers about their pain points. Keep an ear out to see if they mention problems or dissatisfaction with their current product or situation. You can further prompt them to divulge more, as it will help you differentiate yourself from the competition too.

After all, if they're that unhappy, then they're almost ready for a change!

A Budget

For the time and energy of a salesperson to be worth dedicating themselves to a certain prospect, they must have the budget. Without one, they are not a qualified prospect.

Salespeople learn not to shy away from asking about budget. One way to do so is to ask a more general question: How much do you plan to spend on tech solutions this year?

If the prospect cannot provide an estimation, or their estimation is below what you are after, they are most likely not someone you should continue going after. If they are already spending on their problem or are having problems with a current solution, they will already have an estimate ready for you.

In this situation, neither you nor your prospect wants to lose time feeling each other out. You want to sell, and they want their problem solved. If it won't happen due to budget, you can move on quickly and continue looking for what you're after.

Purchase Power

A qualified prospect is a decision maker, someone with the authority and ability to buy or commit.

The last thing a salesperson wants to find out is that the prospect they've been courting and building a relationship with does not have the final say in whether or not the company can invest in purchasing their product or service.

Your first contact in a company does not have to be a decision maker, but for your prospect to be qualified you need to find your way to one pretty quickly. To determine whether you're speaking to a decision maker during the discovery phase, you can ask questions such as:

  • Other than yourself, who else needs to be involved in the buying decision?
  • Would it be possible for you to share what the buying process looks like for you?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can ensure that your prospect either is a decision maker or that they can get you to one early on. Even if it requires the agreement of multiple stakeholders as it often does in enterprise sales.

Getting as close as you can to someone with the power to agree to spend on you as soon as you can is very closely linked to success.

You can indeed rely on first contacts that are not decision makers that will fight for you and become your champion to those with purchasing power, but you should still strive to reach them fast.

A Deadline

One thing someone that needs a solution has? A clear deadline.

The most qualified prospects will have a clear need and sense of urgency, and a very specific deadline to fix this issue. This is where you as a salesperson come in and provide them with the solution they need.

Determining a deadline is quite easy. If a prospect truly has a need, they will mention they are aiming to fix X problem by next month, quarter, or year.

We spoke briefly about revisiting prospects above if they ask you to circle back. Prospects looking to solve it in the next quarter or year are still providing you with a deadline, which means they may still be qualified prospects that buy in the near future.

Prospects that do not demonstrate both a clear need or have an estimate of a deadline or budget are not prospects you should be continuing to chase as they are unqualified.

Mutually Beneficial Relationship

At the end of the day, B2B sales are about building relationships.

Your prospects are qualifying your product or service, but they're also qualifying you and your company as a good fit for them. And you are doing the same.

You both need to trust each other for the deal to be won and even more for them to then stay on as clients. But the onus is on BDRs to begin creating that trust.

True salespeople demonstrate their belief in their product or service and how it will help prospects throughout the sales process. They build a relationship with like-minded individuals who will benefit in some way from what they are offering them.

If you stop receiving responses from them or they seem put off at any moment, they do not trust the salesperson and are not a qualified prospect.


Being able to find qualified prospects in the midst of all the prospects salespeople reach out to on a daily basis is akin to finding a diamond in the rough.

Well-trained salespeople have a good eye for these types of prospects, and can very quickly determine who may be a good fit and who will not be. They know how to handle lead-to-customer conversion and how to nurture qualified prospects correctly.

For stellar outsourced SDRs that will easily pull out qualified prospects for you and your company, make sure to get in touch with our team here at SalesPipe!
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