Startup Lessons Learned: The Importance of Lead Qualification

lead qualification cartoon

Image: Dilbert

We’re a small scrappy bunch here at Dasheroo, and because of that each person is stretched super thin. Some of the times it’s obvious, other times it remains more hidden. But one spot we started to see a bit of a hit recently was in our larger sales deals.

Now don’t get me wrong – Mimi is a one-person sales team animal. She started here at Dasheroo way back when, selling when we barely had anything a larger business would want! But they bought from her.

But this month we ran into an unusual ‘problem’: we had too many leads, and too many demo requests for her to handle! Ok, Ok, I hear you “Umm, Hingley sounds like it’s time to hire another sales person”. Well, first I am that ‘other’ sales person, as any start-up CEO should be comfortable doing! But secondly, the real challenge was that Mimi’s close rates started to come down in April. And she doesn’t take kindly to that.

Seemed like this month in particular, Mimi was really having challenges with people not having the budget to pay for Dasheroo. We couldn’t think of anything specific that should impede closing deals in April. I mean, tax season affects consumer purchases, but not really B2B sales.

So Mimi, Janine and I started to dig in to find out why. We scoured the leads, the geos, the biz types that were coming in in late March and April to see if we could find any root causes. It didn’t take long to drill in and identify two fairly obvious source of new leads that were requesting live demos – GREAT new leads, but more SMB oriented types, folks that should probably start out with our free plan, and then build up through our auto convert editions over time.

It’s a lead qualification issue. And we don’t have an SDR (Sales Development Rep) right now to filter through and qualify the leads to help Mimi focus on the more high value ones.

So we took another look at Mimi’s email that goes out to everyone requesting a demo. The same email that had been going out for months and months, before we had the great challenge of ‘too many leads’.  It didn’t set any expectations for pricing, annual commitments, anything that would help filter out folks that can’t afford, or don’t need, or pricer editions. We made revisions on the spot, stating our minimum $ commitment, and if they were’ ready for that, to watch our demos, sign up for a free account and kick the tires.

The result? Literally within 2 days, we effectively moved the appropriate folks to our ‘auto convert’ business and helped Mimi spend her time on demos and negotiations with businesses that have the need and budget for our Agency & Enterprise offerings! Just this week Mimi’s close rate is back on track and growing!

It’s amazing how a fresh look at ‘old’ communications and practices can really help boost your productivity when you’re growing!

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