What’s the trickiest part of qualifying your B2B sales leads? For most sellers, it’s the delicate balancing act you need to play. You want to ensure you’re honing in on quality leads, but you also need to maximize the number of leads you can generate without turning the whole exercise into a massive time sink.

If learning how to qualify B2B sales leads quickly is your aim, then you’ll want to start by setting measurable goals, asking the right questions, and refining some of your lead gen techniques. Here’s what you’ll need to know in order to get ahead.

1. Start SMART
Setting goals is a sensible first step in your quest to increase lead generation. In order to maximize your chances of success, make certain your goals follow SMART goal setting guidelines rather than vague desires of future business progress.

SMART is an acronym for the five characteristics your business goals should embody:

By creating goals based on these characteristics, you’ll be setting concrete targets that will better focus your efforts on gaining leads quickly.

For example, instead of saying “We want more leads,” you set a target you can hit by a certain date, like, “We’re going to generate 50 extra qualified sales leads by the end of the month.” This way you can keep yourself accountable for hitting that lead goal in a timely manner and adjust your methods on the fly if you fall short.

2. Define Your High-Quality Leads
Can you describe a high-quality lead? For most B2B businesses, there’s a very narrow profile for who wants their specific products and services, but they still base their lead definitions on a vague industry standard. Because of this, they end up going after leads that are off the mark instead of prioritizing better-suited prospects.

You can keep yourself from wasting time by defining exactly what “high-quality” means to your organization. While that’s going to vary based upon the particulars of your business, there are some critical factors to consider that will help you reach that definition:
Depth: You’ll derive the best leads from multiple data points, covering a combination of demographics (or firmographics) and buying signals.
Accuracy: The information associated with high-quality leads needs to be accurate, otherwise you’ll waste time and resources targeting the wrong prospects.
Reliability: Does your definition of high-quality provide consistent, repeatable results? If not, then it isn’t high quality anymore and you’ll need to change it.
Fitness for purpose: Your definition shouldn’t lose sight of the end goal: generating more revenue by way of new customers.
A solid definition of what counts as “high-quality” will expedite your lead-scoring efforts.

In addition to including these characteristics, make sure your organization’s definition of a high-quality lead is one that addresses both your sales and marketing teams’ perspectives. Each team will have different inputs on the matter. Blending both into your definition will ensure it’s useful to everyone.

3. Refine Leads Through Feedback
Part of qualifying leads is forming a connection with your prospects and determining where they are in the buyer’s journey. Lead scoring is great, but instead of relying solely on educated guesswork to narrow down your lead list, sometimes the most expedient method is to just ask the right questions. Broadly speaking, you’re trying to figure out:

What does the prospect need (and do you offer it)?
Who is making the decisions and how?
Can this business afford your product/services?
Are they considering other solutions?
Are they ready to take the next step down the sales pipeline?
To tease this information out of prospects quickly, here are some of the questions you can try asking them:
What products/services have you used in the past?
What worked about those past solutions? What didn’t?
Why are you searching for a new solution?
What are you looking for in a business partner?
What is it about our brand that appeals to you?
What’s your budget like?
Who is in charge of purchase decisions?
What’s your timeline for making a decision?
This process of directly questioning your prospects allows you to skip having to gauge their readiness on your own, helping you sort your most promising leads based upon their responses. What’s more, learning more about the prospect’s wants and needs puts your sales team in a more advantageous position when it comes time to seal the deal.

4. Incorporate Cold Emails
In addition to techniques like thorough questioning, you should make use of fast-paced methods like cold emailing to bring leads in so you can start evaluating. With the right setup, you can send out thousands of messages in mere minutes, allowing you to maximize the pool of prospects you’re qualifying from.

Cold emails won’t generate any leads if you don’t know how to compose them, however. You’ll need to learn how to devise subject lines that cold prospects will want to click on, in addition to crafting quality emails that address their needs without wasting their time.

5. Embrace Automation
You can enhance the efficiency of methods like cold emailing with a dash of automation, but you should keep in mind that automation is also a great way to supercharge your social media B2B lead generation.

There are a lot of repetitive and time-consuming tasks involved with trying to generate leads and boost sales on social media. By automating processes like prospect research, for instance, you can skip the detective work and dive right into reaching out and making critical connections with your new prospects. That time saved should help you generate more than a few extra qualified leads.

Start Qualifying B2B Leads Faster
You don’t have to generate your B2B sales leads at a snail’s pace. Through a combination of setting measurable goals, lead scoring with precise attributes, asking questions, reaching out to prospects, and automating time-consuming tasks, you can get leads pouring in like never before.

Learn more about how to generate leads — and how services like Sharetivity can take the busywork out of your lead generation efforts, putting you on track to boosting your bottom line.