[tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

dwight-schruteLeads are coveted. Leads are adored. We score leads and we nurture leads. Leads are measured in meticulous detail, and continue to keep many, myself included, up at odd hours of the evening. Leads are made famous in movies and television alike. My favorite all time sales guy, Dwight Schrute, spent one entire Office episode asking one question:  ‘When are the leads getting here man?’

At best, the lead qualification process energizes and enables fruitful sales engagements which delivers prized funnel into the forecast. At worst, lead qualification is a cycle dialing, canned email popping machine who slowly beats prospects into submission.  If you are seeking ways to improve your ability to accelerate lead qualification, and aren’t interested in beating your prospects into submission, here are a few things to consider:

  • Knowledge is Power – It is critical to provide timely and relevant sales intelligence at the fingertips of your lead qualification team, and in many cases this falls right within your CRM. When I say sales intelligence, I don’t mean employee counts, revenue, URL, and geographic location which is typically what lead qualification teams leverage. I am talking about surfacing social profiles and social connections, presenting the climate of the prospects business and uncovering what is being said and about that prospect in the online world. Customers, particularly Customer 2.0, will appreciate this knowledge on the front line and will become more open to meetings and demonstrations and allow you to accelerate more leads into the funnel.
  • Speed, I am Speed – Speed is also extremely critical in terms of engaging with leads. Study after study shows the material degradation of leads as the seconds fly away. Without providing a tightly integrated sales intelligence solution to your sales team, those resources will waste critical minutes attempting to uncover some form of intelligence. Lead qualification team members will run to LinkedIn, Google, legacy data providers like Hoovers and Onesource to hopefully extract something meaningful. That wastes valuable time and will not provide a complete and relevant profile of your prospects.
  • Call Around the Lead – The ability to profile contacts and executives wider and deeper in an organization is paramount to improving lead qualification since let’s be honest, your decision makers are not out filling lead forms all day. The fact that someone came to your website or attended a campaign event demonstrates that at least someone believes there is a need for your solution. Through a comprehensive sales intelligence solution, such as SalesView, your sales team will be able to uncover additional contacts and easily find a credible message to have a better conversation.

As the buying process continually evolves and the competitive landscape becomes more and more crowded, differentiating yourself on the very first engagement has become more critical than ever. Using real time and accurate sales intelligence to improve your conversations and quickly engage with multiple contacts in a credible fashion will drive many more leads into opportunities and ultimately allow your Inside Sales managers get a better nights sleep.