In the world of sales, a potential customer is called a lead. But it’s far from as rosy as it sounds: many of your leads will turn out to be dead-ends. To avoid wasting time and energy, you have to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff at an early stage. These are the signs you should look for – and look out for.

At Lundalogik, we may be CRM experts. But we are also excellent on sales, if I might say so myself. That is why I asked Johanna Mann, who works with sales on a daily basis, how to separate a good lead from a bad one. Here is her list of criteria:

A good lead is…

….seriously interested in your company

All leads on your list have probably showed some kind of interest in your company and what you have to offer. But what differentiates a good lead from a poor one is how they have showed their interest. Those who, for example, have visited Lundalogik’s homepage for a long time, downloaded some of our white papers or tried a demo of our CRM systems are generally good leads. Conclusion: great interest = great potential.

….operates in your company’s focal industries

When you initiate the contact with a potential customer, there are primarily two things that matter: your references and if the customer feel any “pain” (relevance). Therefore, it’s more likely that the leads in your company’s focal industries lead to a deal – you have good references to refer to!

….when a company have come to you via a recommendation

References may be a force to be reckoned with, but recommendations are the best thing you could every get. Either you have been recommended to a customer or you have heard from an existing customer of someone you ought to contact. Either way, it’s a great lead and definitely worth all the time and effort you will spend.

Signs of a dead-end:

Lazy browsing and low interest

As mentioned, almost all leads have showed some kind of interest in your company. But far from everyone has enough interest to actually become a customer. Those who have briefly looked at your homepage are such an example. You’d think it would be a strong signal but the reality is usually somewhat different. Cultivate them a bit more with other marketing efforts and contact them when they show a serious interest!

Your lead has reached you via telemarketing

Leads that come in via telemarketing are generally of poorer quality than others. This is because the companies ask questions people answer “yes” to, but then it turns out that they didn’t really have a genuine need or are not the ones making the decisions. So avoid telemarketing if you can – many of the leads from there turn out to be dead-ends anyway.

The company wants the entire cake, but only wants to pay for half of it

Start-ups as well as companies with complex needs could be a challenge to sell to. Start-ups because they often want many things, but don’t have the possibility to invest very much. The same goes for companies with complex needs: they want to have the whole cake to be satisfied, but they are not always prepared to pay for it. If you have start-ups and complex companies in your list of leads, there is a risk you hit a wall.