How to Qualify B2B Leads

Lead qualification is vital to getting good customers.
How to qualify B2B leads article cover photo
Qualifying B2B leads is a necessity in sales today.

There is a lot of information being sent and received constantly and not all of it is accurate. Either because the email is written wrong, is no longer in use, or is fake, knowing whether the lead is worth it before adding them to your sales processes will always save you time and money.

This post will take us through the importance, process, and reasoning behind qualifying B2B leads, and a few strategies to go about it most effectively. Read on!

Reminder: What Is B2B Qualification?

Let's start off by remembering what we mean by B2B lead qualification.

B2B lead qualification is a process by which salespeople, usually outbound or inbound sales representatives, determine if the lead or prospect is a good fit for your product or service. If they are likely to become an actual paying customer.

By doing this early on in the sales funnel, salespeople are able to narrow down their focus to the actual possibilities in their pipeline that have higher chances of converting.

For outbound salespeople, this can happen when they're in the process of building their contact list based on the ideal customer profile. Because they are targeting specifically, and they have control of the process from the get-go, it is a lot easier for them to qualify from early on via tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. They then begin the prospecting process via cold calling, cold emailing, and other avenues, such as LinkedIn.

For inbound sales teams, a good idea is to have your lead-generating form on your landing page be fairly exhaustive. A good example is this form by SalesPipe because there is lots of information there that would help inbound sales reps know if it is a realistic prospect. For instance, employee size is a great tell to see if the company would actually need and be interested in purchasing your product or service.

But sometimes, to increase lead generation, companies may decide on a more minimalistic approach to building inbound leads. This means sometimes sales teams for inbound may only have an email to go on. These can be sometimes easy to figure out: if several forms with the same email address with little variation are coming in, or when you add them to your newsletters the email is nonexistent, you can then tell they are not qualified leads.

It does make it difficult and time-consuming, however, as does having a calculator on your website to obtain the information of these leads. One person can calculate your pricing several times, so your inbound sales team has to be careful when picking the messaging to follow up.

So how do you go about qualifying leads more firmly? Let's take a look at some tips for how to successfully qualify B2B leads.

Ask B2B Qualifying Questions

For both inbound and outbound, the ideal situation would be to have a quick call to determine if the prospect is actually worth it, or some other way to connect with the prospect and ask qualifying questions, such as via email or LiveChat.

But you need to be sure that you know the questions to ask when qualifying a lead.

Each qualifying question should answer a specific unknown that your company and team have to know about the prospect to determine whether they are viable as a client. Aspects like current budget, current need, if there is a sense of urgency, or if the authority of the person you are speaking with is a determinant factor to make the purchasing decision at this point.

Questions should also be open-ended. You want the prospect to give you as much information as possible about their company to really know if it is worth it. And remind them that as much as this is an attempt at a sale, what you really need to understand is their problem and if you have the right solution for it.

So instead of asking "Do you need this right now?" a better question would be "When do you think you would need this most?"

Other questions to consider:

  • What is the challenge you think we can help you solve?
  • What are the reasons you are looking for a solution to your problem now?
  • Are you already using other solutions? Are you thinking about switching? Why?
  • What is your budget for finding a solution?
  • What is the main issue that you want to solve? What would be most important to fix?
  • Who would be involved in deciding the purchase of the product or service we offer?
  • Where do you think our product or service would make the largest difference? And who would use it?

The answers to these questions would allow you and your sales team to qualify or disqualify the prospect.

And of course, always be sure to follow up with an email or phone call with your results or further questions, if needed.
B2B qualifying questions infographic

Have a Lead Qualification Checklist On Hand

Aside from asking the types of questions seen above, having a lead qualification checklist handy both early on in the qualifying process and when speaking with the prospect is a good idea. You can go checking things off during the call itself and previously as you begin interacting with them. It helps a lot once you have the call when you need to qualify whether they will be a real prospect or not.

Additionally, by ensuring everyone is focusing on asking the same questions and following the same checklist, you ensure standardization of lead qualification throughout the sales team. This ensures that the opportunities you really want are definitely coming your way.

The basic information will be similar to what inbound and outbound use to determine the ideal customer profile. You want to have a thorough understanding of who you are talking to, their role in the company, their company size, possible revenue, and their online presence. These are some of the more quantifiable pieces of information you can acquire before, during, and after talking to them.

But want you want to make sure of is that you are getting the answers to the questions you are asking. The five key points you need to be answered are:

  • Is there real interest in purchasing your product or service?
  • Do they truly need your product or service?
  • Can they afford your product or service?
  • Would now be the best time for them to purchase your product or service?
  • Is the person on the call the ultimate decision-maker on whether or not your product or service gets purchased or will you need to meet someone else?

As you can see, they tend to mirror your B2B lead qualifying questions. They are just more direct questions for you to consider when crafting your own for the call. After the call, you review the answers they provided and the additional information you know about the company and make a decision.
B2B lead qualification checklist infographic

Make a Sales Lead Qualification Scoring Form

If time goes on and qualifying leads continues to take time and resources, the best thing to do is make use of a lead scoring form. We mentioned it previously very briefly as a way to help inbound sales teams move through the lead qualification process faster. Your landing page can either serve as the space for the form or take you to another page with it.

These forms typically focus on quantifiable data that your prospect can provide about themselves and their company. There are a few quantifiable metrics you can look at such as demographics, company size, or company information. Additional metrics can be online behavior or email engagement rates to obtain numerical data.

Based on the data you obtain, you set yourself thresholds. This is usually a number between 0-100, but you can determine that yourself. You then give a score to the information you've compiled based on the numerical data. Now where that threshold is, will differ greatly from company to company and industry to industry.

You want to talk to your current customers to figure out where they would score to have an idea of what the threshold should be. And then talk to your sales team. Your reps are the ones in the field every day, having the most interactions with potential customers. They will give you a good idea of what you want to look for.

But once you find that threshold, you can also standardize it for the rest of your salespeople to base themselves on when they qualify leads. It is a good idea to have multiple ways of double-checking that your lead qualification processes are going well, and that you are not missing out on great opportunities. Maybe sit in on a qualifying call once in a while to see how things are going.


B2B lead qualification is an absolute necessity in the sales world today.

You can get interest from several leads, but they may not always be the right customer for you. So you want to make sure you are not spending too much time and resources chasing after the wrong prospect. The quicker you can qualify or disqualify the prospect, the quicker your team can move on to real potential customers.

But it is still a tricky process at times, and one that may take a bit to truly get the hang of.

For experienced lead-qualifying inbound and outbound reps, feel free to get in touch with us here at SalesPipe.
Post by Flor Fustinoni.
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