What Is a sales accepted lead (SAL) And Its importance in the sales funnel

Marketing and sales processes have different aspects to it. Its the industrial professionals’ duty to perceive them rightly. Sometimes, the terms appear confusing enough to hamper the lead conversions. Here is everything to get started.

What is a sales accepted lead(SAL)?

SAL or Sales Accepted Lead is a formal process in the sales funnel where leads are accepted by field, inside, and channel sales for further proceedings. Such a framework ideally asks for a service-level agreement(SLA) to lay down the attributes of a sales-ready lead and the next steps to be adopted within a specific timeframe.

According to SAL, leads need to be analyzed for either acceptance or rejection by the sales personnel, before establishing connections.

A lead might get rejected in the sales funnel owing to several reasons:

  1. Procedural problem: wrongful routing of lead 
  2. Clerical gaps: the lead info isn’t accurate or complete 
  3. Definitional factors: lead doesn’t fit into the target market, activity, or threshold levels.

Lead disqualification happens only after establishing contact with the prospect, i.e. when the sales rep finds that the prospect has no interest, need, or budget to purchase a particular offering.

How does SAL differentiate from MQL and SQL?

Marketing qualified leads(MQLs) are more likely to receive further assistance in listening to a brand. They might not be ready for a sales pitch right away.

On the contrary, a sales qualified lead or SQL bears the readiness to get in touch with a sales rep instantly. The faster the sales team contacts such prospects, the better is the relationship between the lead and the company. Such action translates into a concept known as speed to lead.

However, lead intelligence can only be provided by closed-loop analytics- a mix of website analytics and CRM data to predict various happenings in the customer journey.

How to hand off a lead from MQL to SQL in an effective manner?

  1. Lead Scoring

Giving values to each lead in the form of numerical points is known as lead scoring. The process recognizes a couple of attributes such as submission of professional info, way of engagement with a company’s website, as well as the organization online. 

Once the value is assigned, the strategy helps marketing and sales teams prioritize leads followed by a proper response, thus increasing the rate of conversions. Meanwhile, it also leads to better time management for sales teams who can focus more on pitching activities. 

In most companies, the tactic demands maintenance to offset its core value-driven by exclusive insights such as market cap, company details, content engagement, and funding. But before executing the strategy, your business must consider its needs, about whether leads can be qualified via routing rules. 

If routing rules can’t help, lead scoring would be the ideal way out to success. Say, your reps aren’t overburdened with leads to switch into a different process from manual alternatives. Then, lead scoring isn’t your choice.

2. Lead Behavior

When assessing lead behavior, MQLs drill the weightage behind every action. They span over various activities like participating in a demo, booking a meeting, or replying to an email. Your sales team should assign values to each in terms of significance. 

Based on the type and level of engagement, an MQL decides whether a lead can pass onto SQL or not. Here, sales must not ignore any negative action on the lead’s part. For instance, if a lead doesn’t engage with a brand anymore or keeps emails unopened due to some reason, the lead score will automatically come down.

3. Likelihood to Buy

Various factors necessitate a lead to be converted into SQL. They range from the need to get hands-on with a service or product, affordability, required infrastructure to use them, to their problem-solving capability. 

Such questions can be answered using the BANT system- Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline. Rather than asking routine questions to BANT, your business can get a sound idea about whether it’s serving a potential customer in the funnel.

Why shouldn’t marketers pass on leads to the sales team immediately? 

If your business finds the need of investing hefty cash or a lot of time by the leads, they shouldn’t be handed over to sales in a hurried manner. Say if leads come to know about it during the engagement, the decision-making process will be delayed. Before the final push, one needs to take count of several parameters-

  • the reason behind form fillup
  • their present state of mind 

The best time to qualify leads into the sales team will be when their interest gets intensified, exhibiting a willingness to explore the brand’s value proposition in the ensuing period. 

Reasons why leads need to be sent back to the marketing team at times

At times, if the sales team feels leads haven’t been nurtured enough, they have to be pushed back to the marketing department. Either way, when a lead has already passed onto sales, giving away special offers will help boost their delight onto a different level. The trick will ultimately result in the achievement of new customers via referrals.

Another twist lies in sending customers back to the marketing team after your brand has been trusted. Such a strategy will help retain the leads over the period. As long as you host quality offerings, they will be interested in hearing about the various product lines. An obvious tactic to celebrate such bonds is to offer discount codes on special occasions.

Why is SAL important in B2B companies?

  1. Tracking of sales performance: It ensures the marketing team about whether sales professionals or other partners can act on the resulting leads.
  1. Quick identification and redressal of problems: The rate of lead acceptance or rejection detects issues related to management and quality of prospects that can be tackled accordingly. Ideally, companies should set the lead acceptance rates to 90% or higher.
  1. Decides on the schedule for follow-up of leads: When a lead is accepted by the sales team, they need to be followed up within a short span – within a day(not more than 2 days). It thus does away with the risk of losing potential prospects down the timeline. 

7 strategies to get more SALs

1. Deploy inside sales

While qualified leads can be connected in various ways(via text messages, emails, web profiling), calling them directly does the best to understand their purchase motives. 

2. Know the role, instead of the job title

The marketing teams should target leads based on their job roles and not necessarily on the basis of the designated profiles. In today’s world, most of the job titles read as VPs, Presidents, etc. The goal is to have an eye for undermining the key details. Sales intelligence tools can help dig into the actual roles for better outreach.

3. Identify the lead’s goal 

When you get the contact details of a prospect who has taken some sort of action, try to explore his goal. If he’s interested in buying the given offering, you are good to push for the next step in the sales funnel. If he’s not, then try to curve a different way. Recognizing the leads’ goal can help fetch more SALs over the period.

4. Re-engage dead leads

While leads might not have defined initiatives to purchase a particular product, they might be interested in it. Here the marketing team should re-engage them with compelling content, surfacing problems in the field, and the desired solutions that they might be looking for.

5. Connect to leads frequently

You should reach out to leads at least once a month.

6. Deploy third parties for content validation

Marketing professionals usually create every piece of content intended to reach leads. Here, appointing third parties can right away validate such efforts. For instance, you can partner with analysts specialized in the industry.

On the other hand, you can also link articles by third parties to personalize emails(refer to the content about the conversation with the lead). For that, you won’t be charged or be required to ask for permission. Once you have a clear understanding of various leads, the outreach programs can be automated.

7. Don’t switch the salesperson throughout the engagement

People pay attention to who’s in touch during the sales process. While anonymous email servers might be a low-priced option to suit your needs, they are simply technology without any human touch. That says nothing can replace a human being at the other end when it comes to re-engaging leads.

Many organizations consider the SAL stage a heavy and unnecessary procedure. But it’s the best way to ascertain that the company’s efforts, budget, and resources for lead generation don’t go to waste.

Importance of SAL in the sales funnel

  • It evaluates and improves the lead scoring regularly carried out by marketing and salespeople.
  • SAL significantly reduces the number of resources, costs, and time spent behind poor leads.

How can you recognize SALs?

Not every prospect interested in your company qualifies as a SAL. Then, how can a business spot them rightly? The answer is BANT- budget, authority, need, and timeframe.

  1. Budget: If the prospect is eligible to be a SAL, he/she will have the budget to purchase the brand product or service. In certain situations, marketers need to clarify the budget or secure financial resources before proceeding further.
  1. Authority: The prospect must have the potential to authorize a sale or possess the due essentials before confirming the final deal.
  1. Need: The lead should have a real need for the product
  1. Timeframe: The lead must have the readiness to buy a specific offering within a respected timeframe. However, the timeline can vary from business to business. For example, B2B sales might take six months, a year, or even more, whereas B2B purchases happen within a quick span.

Key Takeaways

  1. What is a sales qualified lead?

A sales qualified lead or SQL bears the readiness to get in touch with a sales rep instantly. The faster the sales team contacts such prospects, the better is the relationship between the lead and the company. Such action translates into a concept known as speed to lead.

  1. What is a SAL in marketing?

SAL or Sales Accepted Lead is a formal process in the sales funnel where leads are accepted by field, inside, and channel sales for further proceedings.

  1. How do you calculate sales accepted leads?

By BANT methodology- budget, authority, need, and timeframe.

  1. What is a SAL vs SQL?

SAL or Sales Accepted Lead is a formal process in the sales funnel where leads are accepted by field, inside, and channel sales for further proceedings.

A sales qualified lead or SQL bears the readiness to get in touch with a sales rep instantly. The faster the sales team contacts such prospects, the better is the relationship between the lead and the company. Such action translates into a concept known as speed to lead.

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