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What are qualified leads and how can you identify them?

Gustavo Goncalves
Gustavo Goncalves

Jun 7, 2023

You know when a visitor accesses your site, subscribes to your landing page or tries to establish communication with your company by providing some contact information? It is from that moment that he goes from a visitor to a lead.

But, a captured lead is not always ready for immediate purchase. He may just be starting his consumption journey, which requires time for the idea to mature so that he is really prepared to make the purchase decision.

To make it fit for a sales call and a satisfied customer, the marketing team must nurture leads with contents and information that help you clarify doubts and increase confidence in relation to your services or products.

While the consumer is not ready for the final decision, we say that he is an unqualified lead. But, how to know the right time to make the sales approach?

That's what we're going to talk about in this post! Continue reading and find out what they are qualified leads and how to identify them.

In this post you will see:

Good reading!

What are qualified leads?

Your leads are those who are already sure of what they want, they are more likely to become your customer and complete the purchase.

They have already gone through the purchase journey, answered all their doubts about your company and have already taken into account all the issues that are important for their decision.

You identify these characteristics as you interact with potential customers during the purchase journey, checking how close it is to the profile of people of the institution.

Usually, the qualified lead has already gone through all the stages of your sales flow nutrition, showed interest in some rich materials that left clues to what he was looking for.

What are the types of lead qualification?

But, calm down! It's not just because he became a lead that your marketing and sales team should get in touch to finalize the purchase.

In fact, it is first necessary to understand how the communication with this lead will be carried out, and this can be defined from the classification of the types of qualified leads, which are:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL);
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL);
  • Product Qualified Lead (PQL);
  • Service Qualified Lead.

Next, we'll explain each one of them and teach you how to identify a qualified lead.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 

Leads qualified as MQLs have usually already shown an interest in your brand or service, but still need to progress down the funnel before moving on to your sales team.

Therefore, these leads need to be nurtured with content produced by your Marketing team until they are ready for the next phase.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Different from the previous lead, this consumer is already ready to close the purchase and for this reason they are worked directly by the sales teams.

Generally, SQLs have already gone through the first phase, been nurtured, and now all they need is an incentive to follow through with the decision.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

If you shop on the Internet, you must have seen some companies that offer a free product so that the customer can try a little of their services even before buying close deals.

This is a tactic widely used within companies to generate qualified leads or the famous Product Qualified Lead. Translated, product-qualified leads are the result of these little free samples.

Prone to completing the purchase, most leads who purchase the free version show interest in buying the paid version, and it is at this point that the sales team directly contacts you to transform the lead into a customer.

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Service Qualified Lead

If in the previous type of lead, the consumer had just tried a free sample of your services, in the Service Qualified Lead, he is already a loyal customer.

In summary, the Service Qualified Lead are those customers who have already purchased your product and are so satisfied that they want to know how to upgrade.

As this type of lead already knows your service or product, your sales team just needs to be alert to recognize opportunities and get in touch with these customers.

Why do lead qualifications?

Today's consumer is not susceptible to any sales pitch. While he sees your value offer, he searches other brands' sites to see if they don't have better perks.

He also checks your company's reputation on the internet, talks to other consumers and searches for information himself. In short, he is ahead of the consumer journey.

As long as he is not armed with all the information he considers relevant, he will not make the purchase, even if his commercial team promises the service or product for free.

Therefore, qualifying leads serves as a filter for the commercial team to contact only those who are ready to make a decision. This contributes to the assertiveness of the approach in the sales process, as well as optimizing the time of the professionals involved.

While the lead is not ready, it is marketing's role to educate them with the best Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing strategies, so that conversions happen with more quality.

How to identify a qualified lead?

To identify a qualified lead, you need to answer a few questions:

  • Is he completing the nurturing process?
  • Is he the one who decides on the purchase?
  • Has he already shown interest in making a purchase for your product or service?
  • Is he able to afford these expenses?
  • Are other decision makers involved?

These questions can be answered by checking the consumer's profile and the path taken along the nutrition flow. Many leads are influenced by parents or friends during their buying journey.

A clear example of this influence is in the leads captured by educational institutions. Within their Marketing strategies, educational institutions need to take into account that future students are not only influenced by their parents' decisions, but are also financially dependent on them.

Which means that, in addition to educating the student, a good educational marketing still needs to educate parents along the buying journey.

And since we are talking about purchasing power, it is important to remember that it makes all the difference, regardless of your segment. After all, there is no point in nurturing the consumer with the best content if the lead is unable to pay for the service later.

Therefore, your Marketing team needs to be aware not only of lead signals during your approach, but also the level of interest, budget potential and the right time to purchase.

Did you like to know what qualified leads are? Check out our other post: What is Inbound Marketing and how to prospect?

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