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November 7, 2021

How to Automate Your Sales Qualification Process with AI

Don Simpson

In the B2B world, sales qualification plays a significant role in the success of your sales efforts. Exemplified by the discovery call, sales qualification is one of the essential tasks on every BDR’s agenda. 

Sales qualification is important because it helps you determine whether further involvement and investment of sales efforts in a given lead is worth it. After all, if your goal is to sell more, you should avoid spending lots of time with leads who have a very low buying intent — and the earlier you can figure out their true intention the better.

What Is a Sales Qualification Process? 

Sales qualification doesn’t happen in a silo and should not be left completely unstructured. A good sales qualification process has clear predetermined criteria for whether a given lead is a good fit for your offering. Most commonly, sales qualification questions get asked during the initial discovery call. 

The reason why having a solid sales qualification process is important is because it dramatically improves your close ratios. Imagine your BDR team going full effort on every single lead coming in — they would barely get anything done, probably winning just a few deals out of hundreds of unqualified conversations. 

A few other benefits of sales qualification are: 

  • Being able to focus on leads who want to buy from you
  • Delivering a more personalized experience to your ICPs
  • Having different BDRs focus on different niches
  • Iterating on the sales qualification process for various industries
  • Saving time and energy while closing more deals
  • Removing roadblocks and risks down the road
  • Avoiding bad customer-product fit

Overall, you can see how a good sales qualification process can lead to productive engagements and happy customers. 

How to Find Qualified Leads? 

Any sales qualification process starts with leads being generated by your marketing, sales, product, or website efforts.

Leads that come from marketing are often those who’ve received your email campaign, for example. Sales leads could’ve reached out to your BDRs directly. Product leads could’ve already signed up for a demo of your solution. Website leads might’ve just contacted you through chat. 

For large organizations, the number of incoming leads through these various channels could greatly surpass the capacity of BDRs to handle them all. This is where sales qualification actually begins. 

Usually, sales qualification starts with a set of qualifying questions to determine a good fit. Some popular questions at this stage are: 

  • Why are you interested in this product? 
  • Why are you looking for such a solution right now? 
  • What is your budget? 
  • What problem are you looking to solve? 
  • If you’ve used a similar solution before, why are you looking to switch? 

Answers to these open-ended questions coupled with industry knowledge and judgement of your BDRs would allow you to segment leads into qualified and disqualified ones. The former would proceed to the next stage in the process, while the latter would be redirected to a nurturing campaign if there’s a possibility they might buy later or archived outright. 

What Is a Qualified Lead? 

Qualified leads are simply those who have successfully gone through your sales qualification process by answering your discovery call questions in a way that first meets your predefined criteria. However, this doesn’t mean that these particular leads will stay qualified forever — they can fall off at any point in your sales pipeline later on. 

Moreover, you can qualify leads at different levels: 

  • A whole organization can be qualified if it fits your criteria for geographical location, revenue, number of employees, etc.
  • An opportunity could be qualified if a particular organization has the explicit need and the budget for your solution
  • A specific prospect could be qualified for having the decision-making power to actually close the deal

Why Should You Disqualify Leads? 

Even if disqualifying leads and turning away potential customers seems difficult at first, it’s going to help your sales efforts immensely in the long term. 

Disqualification usually happens during the initial conversations, but can also occur at any stage of the sales process. There are a few good reasons for it: 

  • Your lead no longer fits your ICP
  • The opportunity window for the whole organization has passed (e.g. it no longer has the budget)
  • There has been a major change in the organization itself (e.g. layoffs, bankruptcy, change of industry)

While disqualifying leads might seem to take away from your sales pipeline, the truth is that pipeline wasn’t real in the first place if it was full of leads who wouldn’t buy your solution at the end of it. You should focus on quality, not quantity.

But if the amount of leads coming in is simply too high to even be effectively qualified by your sales team, what do you do? The answer today is that you should supercharge your sales qualification process with artificial intelligence. 

How Can AI Qualify Leads on Your Website?

In the digital world, your website serves as a convergent point for most of the incoming leads from various acquisition channels. While your visitors number in the hundreds, they could still be manageable by your team. But when they get into the thousands, that’s a whole different game. 

The good news is, you can rely on artificial intelligence and machine-learning models to accurately evaluate and qualify the visitors’ buyer intent for you, doing so instantly, regardless of your website traffic. 

Lift AI is the premier anonymous buyer intent solution leveraging a unique machine-learning model that was trained on more than one billion data points and 14 million live sales interactions.

As soon as visitor lands on your website, Lift AI springs into action and assigns each one a score, corresponding to their likelihood to buy. The highest scoring leads then get connected directly to your BDRs through your existing chat platform, whereas lower-scoring ones are greeted with a nurturing bot or presented with a self-help guide. 

Besides being able to evaluate a near infinite number of leads right away, Lift AI is much more effective at qualifying your web traffic because it’s able to identify anonymous website visitors — those who are not recorded in your CRM or any other system. This is huge, as anonymous visitors represent up to 98% of your traffic overall. 

On average, Lift AI will predict leads with high buyer intent (around 9% of your traffic) with 85% accuracy — instantly. What’s more, Lift AI works without requiring any past data, just install the solution on your website, and it’s ready to go. 

As a result, Lift AI can improve your chat conversions anywhere from two to 10 times within the first 90 days, and your BDRs will spend all of their time talking to leads who are more likely to convert. 

See for yourself! Try Lift AI free for 30 days. All you need to do is install a small JavaScript snippet to your website, and it will automatically integrate with your chat platform of choice (e.g. LivePerson or Drift). Such division of labor — employing AI to identify anonymous website visitors and qualify them while still using BDRs for personal contact — tends to show the best conversion results in nearly every B2B setting.

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