Guide to qualified leads

Customers are the backbone of any business. To turn potentially interested people (leads, in the language of marketing) into active buyers, you will have to try hard. After all, any person gets acquainted with your product in stages and at each of these stages they need different reasons in favor of making a purchase. This is where Lead Scoring comes in handy, a marketing tool that helps you determine which of your leads is really willing to leave their money with you and then confidently lead them to this.

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Types of qualified leads

According to the level of interest and willingness to buy your product or service (to take advantage of your offer), leads are divided into three groups.

Marketing Leads (MQLs)

MQL are people who show a mild interest in your product or service.

What does it look like? Let us say you are selling photo processing software. Imagine that a certain girl named Helen types a thematic query in a search engine and, among all the options, choses your site. Helen looks at what you have to offer, reads a few blog articles and leaves. At this point, she is a user who is just passing by. But if Helen comes back a few days later and, say, downloads an introductory fragment of your book “100 and 1 Color Correction Tips”, she will become an MQL. That is, she realized what you do and began to look closely.

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Product Qualified Leads (PQL)

PQL are leads that have moved from a simple understanding of what you do to the stage of explicit interest and targeted actions.

Let us say Helen likes the style of your book so much that she returns to the site and downloads the trial version of the program. So she becomes a PQL – a person who got deeply acquainted with your offer and decided to test the product.

Leads Suitable for Direct Selling (SQL)

SQL is about leads who have tried your services and returned to pay more.

In Helen’s case, this means that she has either already bought a subscription to your software, or is a couple of steps away from it.

How to identify your most qualified leads

Obviously, not all leads are equally good for your business: some contacts are more likely to make a purchase, while others are wasting your time. A good lead scoring strategy can help differentiate one from the other.

Take a look at your existing customers

This is in order to identify your strengths and understand how you can generate more MQLs.

Here is what can help you with this:

  • developing a joint definition of what a good lead is (in tandem with marketing and sales departments);
  • studying personal information about customers;
  • determining what unites the leads that have made most conversions;
  • analysing the behavior of leads, including what pages they visit, how much time they spend on them and where they come from.

Use marketing automation software

Specialized software (for example, HubSpot, DialogTech, Marketo, etc.) will allow marketers to achieve better results with lower costs regarding both time and finance.

Talk to your sales department

The sales department is in direct contact with customers and therefore knows much more about them than others. Ask which leads they prioritize and ask them to explain why.

Benefits of Lead Qualification

Used correctly, lead qualification is a very powerful marketing tool. With it, you can:

Attract best customers

The vast majority of your site visitors will never buy anything from you. Some are interested in advertising, but they like the product itself much less, some realize they could not afford your prices and some really get to you by accident. Be that as it may, paying attention to such leads is wasting your time and energy – the very resources that can be invested in those whose conversion potential is much higher.

Shorten sales cycles

Entrepreneurs, especially those who have been in business for many years, often do not attach importance to emotional things. Meanwhile, in the eyes of a potential customer, any purchase is a certain risk. Especially when it comes to online stores.

“Will they deliver exactly what I ordered?”, “Will the money be returned if I don’t like the product?” and many other questions are caused precisely by the sense of uncertainty.

How to deal with this? By all means, create a sense of trust in you and your products in a potential customer and do this at every stage of the sales process.

Reduce sales and marketing costs

Your marketing and sales departments interact with hundreds or even thousands of leads. Of course, even at this scale, you can trade. But you will have to determine if a potential client needs your products on the go. All of this greatly complicates and slows down sales. Do you need this?

Save your time

Selling is much easier and faster if you know exactly who your potential customers are and at what stage they are in the process.

Generation and qualification of leads

We are done with the theory. But what can you do in practice? Let us take a look.

Determination of target audience and sales process

The more you know about your potential customers, the better you understand how to encourage them to buy. To gain this knowledge, one of 4 frameworks is used:

  • BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline.
  • GPCTBA / C&I stands for Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority and Impact. In fact, this is a more advanced version of BANT.
  • CHAMP stands for Challenges, Authority, Money and Prioritization. Unlike BANT, this framework focuses on the “pains” of potential customers and then on the actual purchase.
  • MEDDIC stands for “Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process and Champion”. As the name implies, this scheme is focused on B2B customers and a detailed study of their needs.

Reaching potential customers

When a marketer has identified potential customers, it is necessary to define a portrait of all ideal customers. This information will help the company focus on its lead nurturing strategy.

Continuous attraction of potential customers

For your products and services to be sold, you need to know your potential customers and, more importantly, you need to be interested in them. Correctly configured advertising will help with the first, but the demonstration of your advantages will help with the second. For example, if you sell courses, offer potential customers a free lesson (not a boring introduction, but a full-fledged lesson, like for those who have already paid). Remember that if you want to get something, you first have to offer something for free.

Turning qualified leads into return customers

PQLs (Product Driven Leads) are already seriously interested in specific products or services and are one step from the purchase. Nevertheless, they still need to be brought there.

Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. Track which sections of your site PQLs are most interested in.
  2. When providing evaluation versions of a product or service, make sure they are attractive enough.
  3. Fill your site with quality content: good text, clear photos, readable font – all this is of great importance.
  4. Make sure that all the messages your business is broadcasting tell potential customers how you can solve their problem. 

Selection of potential customers

Finally, how can you increase your chances of converting a qualified lead into a potential customer? Provide them with a great customer experience.

Here are some ideas: 

  • Invest in a well-functioning and intuitive website
  • Do not overuse the variety of choices on the landing page – the prevalence of distractions greatly increases a person’s desire to immediately leave the site
  • Personalize everything you can – everyone wants to feel special and your leads are no exception.
  • Attract new customers with discounts, pleasant conditions and a good loyalty program.


Whatever tactics you choose, remember that each strategy must be adapted to a certain business and industry specifics. To get the most effective results, do not be afraid to test new approaches and combine them with the well-proven old ones. And best of all, never stop learning – always check out the latest industry reports and case studies.