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Are you struggling to determine qualified leads? It used to be that salespeople were the first ones to offer a solution to their prospect’s problems. But now, when people can quickly and easily get on Google and search for solutions themselves, the sales rep’s job is a little bit more difficult. By the time you first make contact with the prospect, they’re likely more than halfway through the decision-making process. Therefore, it is crucial to fully understand your prospects using inbound sales methods.

Inbound sales requires that you engage with meaningful, qualified prospects using methods commonly used in inbound marketing, such as providing remarkable content. This approach ensures you are providing your prospects with valuable, useful information that is unique to their business and industry. Ultimately, you want your prospects to find benefits of working with your sales reps that they can’t find anywhere else. What makes your company stand out from your competition is how well your sales reps are positioning themselves as experts in their industry and rewarding and engaging with prospects.

These inbound sales tips will help your sales team qualify prospects better so that they can turn them into warm leads, and ultimately close them into customers.

Here is an outline of some key factors that will help you better qualify your leads and sales opportunities in order to manage your pipeline more effectively. First, identify their Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline. Let’s take a look at each one.

Goals: Make sure that your prospect’s goals are quantifiable. Ask them questions such as, “What is your projected growth for 2015? What is your departments top priority for the next year?”

Plans: Once you have identified and quantified your prospect’s goals, you should find out what plans they already have in place to achieve these goals. Some sample questions might include, “What did you do last year? What do you think will work best for the coming year? What didn’t work this past year that you would like to improve?”

Challenges: It is extremely important to determine if you can help your prospect overcome their challenges. Ask questions like, “Do you think your department has enough resources to reach your goals?”

Timeline: Every goal has an expiration date on it. It is your job to find out what that is. Try to uncover their projected timeline by asking questions like, “When do you expect to implement this time? How long do you think it will be before you achieve xyz?”

Next, after identifying all aspects of GPCT, it is your job to determine your prospect’s budget and authority in making purchasing decisions.

Budget: Does your prospect have an estimated budget? Is it realistic? Also, find out what else they are spending their money on and if it is working or not. This could be an opportunity for you to position your services better than what they are currently doing.

Authority: Turn influencers into advocates. Most salespeople don’t get a chance to speak with decision makers until later in the sales process, so it is your job to build trusted relationships with influencers and ultimately turn them into advocates of your product or service. Here are some questions to help move the conversation along with the influencer: “Does the economic buyer believe in the same goals we have discussed? How can we get the buyer on board with our plan? What challenges do you expect the buyer to present?”

With inbound sales, it’s critical to qualify your influencers throughout the sales process to ensure you’re not missing the next opportunity. Try another approach to prospecting with our social prospecting guide below.

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