IF YOU DON’T qualify your leads to determine if they have a need for your products or services and the budget and authority to buy them, you’ll waste time following up and trying to sell to people who aren’t a good fit for your company.

They might not have any need for what you’re selling, or they might not have the money or authority to buy your products or services.

And if you do succeed in selling to people who shouldn’t be buying your products or services, your business will suffer. That’s because they probably won’t be able to use them easily. Not only will they need more customer service support, but they’ll also complain.

The wrong customers probably won’t see or get the value of your products or services. As a result, they’ll be more likely to ask you for discounts or haggle over price. They will eventually stop using your products or services and leave, meaning your investment and time have been wasted.

To make matters even worse, they could write unfavourable reviews about your products or services and share them online. That would damage your reputation and brand and put off the very people who could benefit from your products or services.

You can avoid this by qualifying your leads so that your sales funnel is filled with high-quality prospects who have a need for what you’re selling and have the budget and the authority to buy.

Create an ideal customer profile

Begin by creating a profile of your ideal customer. This is a description of your ideal customer that you can use to target, attract and qualify high-quality prospects. It should include:

  • Demographic information (age, income, gender, etc.)
  • Psychographic information (what they think/feel)
  • Behavioural information (their similar likes and dislikes, sports, hobbies, etc.).

If your business is B2B, then you should consider the characteristics of ideal companies to do business with. Look at factors such as:

  • The number of employees
  • Revenue
  • Type of business
  • Decision-making process and length
  • Budget
  • Geographic scope

Find the places your customers ‘hang out’, whether it’s a physical location or somewhere in cyberspace. What do they watch or read online and offline? What do they search for online?

Understand their purchasing process

Find out what needs make your ideal customers purchase your product or service. Where does their research begin? What is their problem or need? What benefits do they get from finding a solution?If your business is B2B, you should also find out what the buying process involves. Does it, for example, begin with referrals? Who is involved in the decision- making?

Survey your current ideal customers

Contact your customers to get an insight into why they choose to buy from you. Conduct interviews with your best customers to find out:

  • How they found you
  • Why they originally bought from your company
  • Why they continue to buy from your company
  • What does your company do or provide that other companies don’t?

Use the information you’ve gathered to create ideal client profiles or personas.

Create buyer personas

Buyer personas are models or hypothetical individuals that represent different consumer groups within your target audience. Depending on your market or industry, you may have several different buyer personas.

The point of creating buying personas is to help you (and your team) relate to customers as individuals and to identify their motivations, emotional triggers, and wants or needs.

Creating a marketing strategy with these personas in mind will help you avoid wasting time and resources. When you know what makes your ideal customers ’tick’ you can use that information to attract more customers like them. You’ll know who they are, what they need, and where they go (both online and offline) to find it.

You’ll know what motivates their buying decisions so that you can place content where they go to learn and advertise in the right places.

You’ll also know their pain points so that you can create marketing messages that appeal to them and inspire them to act.

People’s needs change so you will need to review the personas you create in six to 12 months’ time to ensure they’re still relevant.