Success in the thrilling sales world frequently depends on one crucial element: practical sales qualification. 

It's the skill of sorting through leads, finding undiscovered treasures, and separating the wheat from the chaff. 

But what makes a prospect qualified?

How can you spot the golden opportunities that could dramatically increase your sales? 

Regardless of your level of experience in the sales field, buckle up as we explore everything you need to know about sales qualifications.

Prepare to delve deeply into the fascinating world of sales qualification and learn the techniques that have the power to change the way you approach sales entirely.

Understanding Sales Qualification

Sales qualification refers to identifying leads or prospects who are a suitable fit for your product or service. It occurs during sales conversations and is crucial for identifying the clients who might remain loyal over the long run. It usually entails contrasting a prospect with an ideal customer profile (ICP), which describes the business that would profit from your offering. 

Sales reps can qualify prospects if there is a suitable match. They may follow a simple procedure such as:

  • Determine the role that the buyer plays in the decision-making process.
  • Gather information regarding their Company.
  • Understanding the buyer's business pain points from their point of view.
  • Determine the urgency with which they require a solution
  • Use a CRM tool to qualify potential customers.

Check out the diagram below.

how to qualify sales prospects

What is Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring refers to evaluating potential clients based on important factors to assist you in gauging their likelihood to take the desired action.

Your company needs a lead-scoring system to keep track of your qualified leads.

Why so?

Because with lead scoring, 75% of businesses saw a rise in conversion rates.

lead scoring and conversion rate

A few specific, pre-established criteria are used in the lead-scoring procedure to rate qualifying leads.

Based on how prepared each lead is to buy your goods, scoring is done by giving each lead a numeric value (see the image below).

leads entering funnel

As seen in the above funnel, the fresh leads can have a numerical value of 0 (cold leads) and graduate to 50 (warm leads), which have a potential conversion, and the top most is 100 (hot leads) labeled as sales-read leads.

Several factors, such as engagement, price, reviews, social media posts, etc., are used to score leads.

The Following Attributes Can be Used to Score the Lead:-

Attributes for Lead Scoring

  • Demographics

Understanding the prospect's location and age range will simplify the lead-scoring procedure.

  • Company Information

The lead's corporate information is important in determining a lead's score. Knowing the lead's company revenue, staff size, etc., will simplify scoring leads.

If your lead falls into the desired category, it will be simpler to prioritize it.

  • Buyer behavior

You may improve your lead scoring by keeping track of your clients and observing their social media activity.

Keep tabs on how long leads spend on a company's website, which products they click on, and what prices they are interested in.

Another key component of the lead score system is email engagement.

  • Arena of interest

When calculating the lead score, you can consider the product a prospect is looking at, how long he spends there, and what he is looking for.

  • Activities

Keeping track of the customer's sales cycle, the number of emails opened or deleted, participation on YouTube, social media activities, web page visits, downloads, forms filled out, etc., can help you get a better score.

Among its many other benefits, lead scoring can help with conversion improvement in the following ways:

  • By concentrating on the correct lead, the sales team can save time
  • Scoring facilitates more effective communication within the sales team
  • Identifying the leads that need to be prioritized
  • Increasing work productivity
  • Helping put in place a structured lead nurturing strategy
  • Improving knowledge of your customers
  • It facilitates the alignment of the company's marketing and sales teams

What is a Qualified Prospect?

The lead qualification procedure has been completed, and the qualified prospect is now prepared to be added to the sales pipeline.

During a discovery call, most of your qualification work happens. Note that this differs from the beginning to the end of the qualification.

You will continually assess potential customers for ever-more-detailed traits at every stage of the sales process.

Most or all of the following characteristics describe a qualified prospect:

a qualified prospect characteristics

1. Clear Pain Points

The fact that your prospect daily deals with hazy business difficulties disqualifies them as qualified prospects.

Prospects can only reach a closed-won contract if they avoid generalized responses to your discovery questions.

When you customize your pitch and, later, your demo, you'll be better able to speak to their specific needs the more clearly you can identify their problem spots.

Therefore, a qualified prospect must have particular issues that your good or service fixes.

You won't have time to elicit their pain points or attempt to persuade them that they need to buy your product to fix an issue that they don't think they have.

The more informed your prospect is of their pain issues, the better, so find out whether they are by probing them with discovery questions.

What to look for: 

  • Answers concerning their pain points that are extremely specific:

An experienced candidate will have dealt with a problem you can fix regularly.

Each of your pointed questions needs to receive a thorough response from them.

  • Issues with their current service or product:

An ideal candidate must need a change.

One method to do that is to ask them to describe any issues they are having with the present solution.

2. A Budget

Have you ever made multiple calls to a potential customer to have the deal fall through because they cannot afford your offering?

Even if you ask a straightforward question About how much you will spend on [CRM, sales, website, etc.] software this year, when qualifying prospects, you should try to understand as much as you can about their budget.

Even though it may seem inappropriate to bring up money immediately, doing so will save you time and allow you to concentrate on customers who can afford your service.

A suitable applicant will have the funds available and be upfront about it. 

For instance, they might already be utilizing a similar-priced item or be experiencing costly issues.

Make sure to inquire about a range rather than a set price, and be aware that if your prospect's need is pressing enough, you might be able to upsell them.

But that will only happen once you've developed enough trust with them.

What to look for: 

  • A budget range corresponding to your fees:

Your prospect may not have a certain amount they want to spend, but their budget range must do so.

Ideally, they should have a price range that is substantially higher than yours.

  • Unmistakable intent to buy:

They need to be qualified prospects if you perceive any hesitation on their part about shelling out X amount of money for a solution.

The moment may not be appropriate to develop the transaction further.

3. Purchase Power

A qualified prospect will have the power to influence the decision-makers or, in the alternative, to make the final purchasing decision.

Attempt to determine your prospect's role as a gatekeeper, decision-maker, influencer, or blocker as early as feasible. They'll probably be influential, but they need to be the correct kind of influential.

Throughout your career, you might interact with coordinators and even interns who frequently conduct research on behalf of their management and who, as a result, have influence.

These are not qualified possibilities for you; mid-level workers are.

To approach an upper-level influencer, carefully avoid the entry-level influencer if possible: the manager who will present the problem and its solution to the decision-maker.

(The decision-maker is probably a leader; they are typically not the ones you'll speak with during the prospect qualification process.)

Remember to account for the size of the firm.

For instance, a manager at a large company is far more removed from decision-makers than a manager at a smaller one.

To find out where your prospect is on their organizational chart, research LinkedIn or the company's website.

What to look for:

  • A position of medium level:

A qualified candidate will preferably be at the center of their career, too high up to make all the decisions and too low down to have no influence.

  • An illustration of influencer influence:

Ask them to provide examples of earlier software or product purchases they oversaw that were a success.

For instance, you could ask, "Have you ever tried other solutions? Were you involved in that procedure?

4. Timeline/Deadline

A qualified prospect urgently needs to identify and buy a solution before a specific period, such as the following quarter, month, or year.

Your prospect requires a compelling argument for why they should buy right now, whether because accounting needs all their statistics for balances or leadership wants a new solution immediately.

Is there any way to determine?

They can point to a risky corporate performance fall and say they need a fresh approach to turn things around.

You have a qualified prospect with you if they also point to a declining ROI for their present product.

What to look for:

  1. A deadline:

A qualified prospect should have an estimated date by which they must complete the buying process.

You can ask this straightforward inquiry without sounding pushy.

  1. An urgent justification for buying:

Qualified candidates will know they must move quickly, whether due to pressure from outside sources or diminishing performance.

5. Mutually Beneficial Relationship

A qualified prospect will see when you're not just attempting to make a sale.

They'll recognize your sincere desire to support them and that you two can support one another in fulfilling your respective jobs.

Remember that you will probably be chatting with an influencer.

The influencer ultimately wants to stand out in front of the leadership.

You can make it a reality by offering a solution that enables you to reach your quota while enhancing the productivity of the person in question and their team.

What to look for:

  • Trust in you:

Do you notice any reluctance from the potential customer?

Have they already started to ghost you?

That is not a qualifying prospect.

A qualified prospect, on the other hand, will actively engage in the sales conversation and exhibit complete confidence.

Levels of Prospect Qualification

Prospects must be qualified by sales reps at three different levels: 

1. Organization-Level Prospect Qualification

The most fundamental level of qualification only tells you a little other than whether you need to conduct additional investigation.

Refer to your company's buyer personas if you have them when evaluating a prospect. Does the customer fit the profile of a particular persona?

At this point, you should ask the following questions:

  • Is the prospect in your territory?
  • Do you sell to their industry?
  • How large is the business?
  • Does the account match your company's ideal customer?

2. Opportunity-Level Prospect Qualification

You probably immediately thought of this type of qualification when you read the post's title. 

During opportunity-level sales qualification, you ascertain whether your prospect has a particular need or challenge you can address and whether it will be practical for them to use your unique product or service.

Opportunity-level traits, which comprise the other half of a strong buyer persona, shed light on whether a potential customer would gain from your offering.

Ask the following questions to see if your prospect meets the requirements for the opportunity.

  • Does the potential customer know what kind of products you sell?
  • Have they got a problem that your product can help them with?
  • Are there any members of the team or users of the product?

3. Stakeholder-Level Prospect Qualification

Suppose you discovered that the prospect's business suits your solution and ideal customer persona.

Can your point of contact genuinely make a purchasing decision?

Now, let's get down to the details.

Ask your prospect the following questions to determine.

  • Will you have to go over budget for this purchase?
  • Who else is involved in making a choice?
  • Have you established any criteria for this purchase? Who defined them?

The Importance of Sales Qualification

Why sales qualification? Isn't business about serving the most customers?

Not all visitors to your website or callers are suitable.

Potential customers understand their wants and needs.

They need to find out how your solution can meet those needs.

Thus, the sales qualification is important since it does the following:

1. Creates Order 

A robust sales qualifying process, especially one that includes lead scoring, helps staff discover possible buyers.

Sales qualification reduces a vast database of hundreds of raw contacts to a manageable size to guarantee your team is working on best-fit transactions, 

2. Increases Return

To maximize engagement, marketers optimize digital advertising campaigns and website content.

Prospects may subscribe to a newsletter, download a whitepaper, or request pricing. But only some people who supply an email address are ready to buy.

Marketers need sales qualifications to identify high-quality lead campaigns and activities.

3. Scales Business

Processes allow you to enjoy scaling in the industry.

So, a sales process that qualifies prospects is essential for recruiting and converting the proper clients as your market share grows.

It's simple to qualify one consumer.

A well-defined sales qualification procedure can make qualifying 10,000 consumers easier.

4. Improves Close Rates

You can only do so little to persuade a prospect who is uninterested in your offer.

Your sales team will save time chasing uninterested prospects if you reject them without qualifying them. Their close rates will suffer as a result.

Your agents will focus on the right buyers if they are properly qualified.

Additionally, it guarantees that they focus on clients who are most likely to benefit the business (instead of poorly qualified leads).

5. Increases Customer Retention

Do you realize the benefits of each sale you make?

Possibly not.

If you sell to an unqualified prospect, there is a considerable possibility that they will churn once they realize your solution does not meet their unique demands.

Even on social media, they might express their grievances.

Pre-qualifying your prospects may lead to improved customer retention. More sales will result, and satisfied customers will likely refer your business to others.

6. Improves Customer Experience

You'll be notified by name when your favorite coffee arrives from Starbucks.

You, the customer, are made to feel special by this particular touch. Isn't?

In B2B settings, the same concept is applicable. A tailored experience can leave a good impression and increase your sales.

There is a 34% more likelihood that a B2B buyer will purchase from a vendor that excels at providing a great customer experience.

providing a great customer experience

Steps To Follow in The Sales Qualification Process

Each organization has its requirements for sales qualification.

On the other hand, a typical sales qualification procedure consists of the following steps:

Steps To Follow in The Sales Qualification Process

1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile 

You must be clear on your target customers before qualifying as a prospect.

Identifying the kind of business that would most benefit from your service is the first step in developing an ICP.

ICP attributes include things like:

  • Industry\sRevenue
  • Personnel total
  • Geography
  • Major difficulties
  • Stack of technologies

Although not comprehensive, this list is a smart starting place.

These are only a few qualities that a buyer should possess before being advanced through the sales cycle.

Have a look at the example of an ICP below. 

example of an ICP

Build your ICP on factual information. This can be done by examining your CRM or your front-line sales managers' sales tools.

Finally, examine information about your present customers to find patterns.

Naturally, some people work for businesses that fit your ICP. Therefore, you should create a buyer persona, a profile of the individuals in your ideal firm, with complete information on their titles, duties, and pain concerns.

Remember to create this profile once more using information from your CRM.

You can also gather information from your actual customers through surveys and interviews.

2. Set Up a Lead Scoring System

Another outstanding sales lead qualification tool includes the lead scoring system. This one assigns numerical values to leads.

A lead scoring model can be created in a variety of ways.

Giving points for actions like visiting a particular website or opening an email is a common way to score leads.

It is assumed that a person who has signed up for a free trial will benefit your business more than someone who has just read your blog.

Creating a lead score system based on your ICP is another option. Give this feature extra points, for instance, if most of your most significant customers work in technology.

Take a look at this simple lead score system below:

Lead Score System

Using a lead score system, you may determine how likely quality leads will convert. They are more likely to get it from you if the score is higher.

Make this a cooperative purchasing process between sales and marketing. Each sales team should determine which actions or qualities have higher values.

3. Research a Prospect Before Reaching Out

What sets top salespeople apart from mediocre ones?

The best representatives are diligent.

82% of top-performing reps claim to always do their due diligence on prospects before contacting them.

Before initiating contact, make sure to study your prospects.

Before initiating contact, make sure to study your prospects.

As a result, you are in a position to decide whether to pursue them, and it provides you with data you can use to tailor your outreach and improve the results of each cold call.

In your preliminary study, keep the following in mind:

  • Yearly income
  • Personnel total
  • Locations
  • Leadership for the tech stack
  • Industrial funding round
  • Headcount rise from the previous year

To acquire this exact information, use websites like Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and the company's website.

Further technographic and firmographic data can be retrieved using sales intelligence tools. 

Also, keep in mind to investigate the individual you are contacting. Use their blog, if one exists, and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

4. Ask the Right Sales Qualifying Questions

Ask the Right Sales Qualifying Questions

Your research can only take you far.

A prospect should be put on a discovery call and asked the proper questions if they fit your ICP and have a high enough score.

The objective is to choose whether to forward the prospect through your sales process or to reject them.

You can inquire about the following of your potential clients:

  • What business issue are you attempting to address?
  • How are you now dealing with this issue?
  • What actions are you taking right away?
  • How have you previously approached this issue?
  • What is the price tag for this remedy?
  • When will it be put into practice?

Sales Qualification Frameworks

All finished deals have similarities, even if every sale is unique.

The frameworks for sales qualification that condense these traits into a more organized procedure are shown here.

Prepare yourself for a massive amount of acronyms in this section.


BANT is one of the earliest sales frameworks, initially created by IBM.

For vetting B2B buyers, it offers a straightforward foundation.

The BANT Framework

BANT translates as:

  • Budget: Can the customer afford your solution? Find out as soon as possible if they have the money.
  • Authority: Does the potential customer have the ability to make decisions? The ideal prospect to work with can approve a transaction.
  • Need: Does your solution address your prospects' pain points? Disqualify a prospect when you discover they don't require your solution.
  • Timeline: How soon does the potential client want to implement a solution? Your reps can choose which prospects to focus on by being aware of timescales.

According to the BANT framework, prospects are viable if they satisfy at least three of these four requirements.


Some BANT and CHAMP framework similarities exist, but CHAMP prioritizes the customer's demands.

The CHAMP Framework

The acronym CHAMP stands for:

  • Challenges: What problems are your prospects dealing with, and what remedies have they tried? The representatives are attempting to figure out how they might assist in overcoming these difficulties.
  • Authority: Is the potential customer a part of the decision-making process? If you still need to, you'll need to figure out who has the power to sign.
  • Money: The prospect has set aside how much money? The affordability of your proposal must be ascertained.
  • Prioritization: Does the issue require immediate attention? You should expect a quicker implementation timeframe if a prospect is eager to find a solution to their difficulties immediately.


While employed by the technology firm PTC, Jack Napoli created the MEDDIC sales qualification framework.

This approach is appropriate if you promote a more complicated solution with numerous decision-makers and long sales cycles.

The MEDDIC Approach

MEDDIC stands for:

  • Metrics: Learn your potential customer's objectives. To convey the financial advantage of your product effectively, these should be quantified economic customers.
  • Economic buyer: Identify the person with authority to approve spending. To close transactions, you must talk to this person and get their support.
  • Decision Process: You must comprehend a buyer's internal approval, purchasing procedures, and decision criteria.
  • Decision Criteria: When evaluating vendors, buyers frequently take a variety of factors into account. You can create a persuasive sales proposal by knowing what these criteria are.
  • Identify Pain: After engaging with a prospect, you need to find out their business pain points to offer your solution properly.
  • Champion: A champion is a member of the buyer's organization who fights for your rights. A sales opportunity must be advanced with the use of their influence.


To ascertain whether a prospect will profit from your offerings, HubSpot created the GPCTBA sales qualification framework.

The GPCTBA Framework

GPCTBA is short for:

  • Goals: Establish the measurable objectives of your customers. What quantifiable outcomes are they aiming for?
  • Plans: Discover the steps your customers have taken to reach their objectives. What did and didn't work?
  • Challenges: Identify the issues troubling your customers and explain how your solution will assist them in avoiding unfavorable outcomes.
  • Timing: Maintaining momentum will prevent an agreement from stalling. When do your clients intend to put a fix into practice?
  • Budget: Find out what your purchasers can afford. How much do they have saved? What is their current spending? Make careful to emphasize the importance of your solution.
  • Authority: Talk to the decision-maker as soon as you can. Try to identify the person who has the power to approve a purchase if your contact isn't an economic buyer.


Similar to the BANT structure, ANUM places a high priority on identifying the person who will make the budget decisions.

The ANUM Framework

Its acronym stands for:

  • Authority: Do they have the ultimate decision-making power? Unless otherwise specified, make sure you speak with a person who has purchasing authority.
  • Need: What requirements do they have? The prospect's requirement for your solution must be established, just like with the BANT framework.
  • Urgency: How soon is your prospective customer looking for a solution? Sales cycles are shorter when there is more urgency.
  • Money: Does the potential customer have the funds to purchase your solution? Find out how much they have set aside and whether they can afford your solution.

Before delving into someone's needs, the ANUM framework ensures you speak with the appropriate individual.


The FAINT certification framework knows that some customers need help to afford a given solution. Therefore, it is necessary to approach these prospects slightly differently.

The FAINT Framework

FAINT stands for:

  • Funds: Check to see if a potential customer has the money necessary to complete a purchase. This can entail investigating their financial records or looking for information on recent funding.
  • Authority: Identify the person who has the power to approve a purchase. Employ tools like LinkedIn to accomplish this.
  • Interest: To advance negotiations, there needs to be interest generated. Know you're proceeding well when a prospect asks, Tell me more.
  • Need: After generating interest for your solution, you must position it as a need. This requires making the appropriate sales inquiries.
  • Timing: Discover when the potential customer plans to implement a solution. The salesperson will know to prioritize this prospect if they have limited time.

As every firm has a unique sales process, what works for one organization may provide different outcomes for another.

Choose a sales qualification framework that works for your processes by experimenting with a variety of them.

Good Signs to Qualify a Prospect

Here are some tip-offs to look for when qualifying a prospect.

They can help you decide whether to advance the sales process or not.

1. Excuses

Wait. How can making excuses be advantageous?

Excuses aid in aligning our behavior with our desired behavior.

You should pay close attention whenever your prospect attempts to justify earlier inaction in addressing business pain during a sales call.

This can be interpreted as either the reason is valid or your prospect wishes they had taken action sooner but is trying to explain away why they didn't.

Either way, it attests to the truth of their suffering.

2. Specificity

Prospects who can provide detailed responses to inquiries like What are your goals? and When do you need to see results? have already considered their issue.

Pay attention to logical progressions, well-considered justifications, and data. Furthermore, specifics show that your prospect is indeed suffering.

After all, people with genuine issues don't consider their causes or potential solutions.

Of course, there is a requirement that realism accompanies specifics. A potential customer who states, I intend to triple revenue in the next two weeks, is utilizing specifics to show that they need sound business judgment.

3. Knowledge 

Knowledge works in tandem with specificity.

A knowledge check is your best option to qualify at the stakeholder level.

Real decision-makers will deeply understand the business's needs, goals, and difficulties. It may only be helpful in the sales process if a contact is privy to this data.

Red Flags Not to Qualify a Prospect

Here are some tip-offs to look out for when qualifying a lead that can help you decide whether to avoid advancing the sales process.

Prospect Red Flags

1. Inconsistency

One who wants to be helpful but needs more understanding is likely the prospect whose replies conflict.

This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker; press them to inform you who knows the answers so you may continue the opportunity qualification process with a different contact.

2. Short Answers

Real business pain permeates a company; it keeps leaders up at night and affects workers daily. Prospects will want to talk to you if you convey that you can ease their suffering.

There is no basis for a dialogue with a prospect responding to your questions with a single word. The issue might not exist, or the contact might need to know its seriousness. 

Disqualify yourself or attempt to contact a different organization member, depending on what you believe is happening.

3. They're Hesitant

When making an actual purchase, customers occasionally exhibit all the characteristics of a fully qualified lead.

This may mean they must still prepare to make that choice and that further relationship development is necessary.

If this occurs, consider excluding them from the project you're working on, but request that the marketing department keeps contacting the buyer with promotional materials.

In this manner, you might save time persuading them to complete the purchase while ensuring they are on the company's contact list.

4. They Don't Meet Your Buyer Persona

It's usually a clue it's preferable to exclude a lead when you find a buyer that doesn't fit your desired buyer persona.

This could occur if you only sell within your own country while the buyer is in another.

When your employer places a lot of emphasis on big, global businesses but the buyer is a small business, that can be another factor.

5. Your Solution Doesn't Meet their Needs

Leads are frequently disqualified based on the needs they have.

Ideally, you want to offer products to customers who know your solution and are confident it will meet their demands.

It's frequently a good idea to exclude them and concentrate on your other qualified leads when you discover that there is no market for the goods inside the buyer's network.

How To Build a Better Sales Qualification Process 

A scalable sales qualification procedure might benefit your business and your clients.

Your sales and marketing teams will quickly identify and turn potential clients into paying customers. Additionally, prospects who decide to convert will enter the partnership with the assurance that your solution fully satisfies their needs.

Reaffirm your commitment to enhancing the sales qualifying procedure. It will be valued by both your staff and your clients.

Final Thoughts

Mastering the art of qualifying is a crucial ability that can help you stand out from the competition in the constantly changing world of sales. 

You are now prepared to traverse the complex maze of leads, pick the most promising prospects, and confidently close agreements armed with the knowledge and techniques we've discussed. 

But keep in mind that knowledge is not everything. You must have access to the proper resources and assistance to succeed. 

That’s where AI bees come in. 

Our cutting-edge AI-powered solutions will accelerate your sales qualifying process, giving you real-time insights, predictive analytics, and personalized recommendations to enhance your sales potential.

Don't just settle for average results; harness the power of AI bees and watch your sales soar to new heights. 

Embrace the evolution of sales qualifications and grab the chance to transform your success. 

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