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How to qualify a lead with an assessment

Not all leads are created equal. A lead qualification survey is one of the best ways to identify high-intent prospects. That means less wasted time for you and your potential customers. This guide will show you how to build a lead qualification survey step by step.

Leads are like a “match” on a dating app—both parties have expressed interest, but they haven’t agreed to a dinner date—yet.

Similarly, a lead for your business is someone who indicates that they're ready to learn more, but they’re not quite ready to make a purchase. 

Companies need to vet leads to make sure they’re the right fit so time and resources aren’t wasted trying to convince them to buy. 

You need to build and nurture a relationship, offer value, and prove you're the best match for their needs. That’s a job for lead qualification. And that’s what we’re talking about today.

It’s not just about the numbers: look for lead quality

Leads ascended to marketing metric royalty for a reason. In the ideal scenario, a lead becomes a customer, which leads to revenue and a thriving business. Achievement unlocked.

However, leads are so important for marketing teams that they’ve now evolved into something of a mercenary metric. Marketers feel the need to collect any and all leads (even the bad ones) to reach their quarterly goals and pass enough fodder to sales. The result is ineffective lead generation, like forcing people to give their email addresses in exchange for basic blog posts. But that approach doesn’t cut it if you’re actually trying to win revenue.

Lead quality matters way more than lead quantity.

Picture someone who fills out a contact form just to download a report for competitive research, not because they want to buy your product. Or a marketer who opted into emails, but they really just wanted to know how you format your case studies. 

These people gave you their email address, sure. But they’re never going to buy from you. Treating these disinterested “audiences” like MQLs to boost metrics may have been a go-to tactic for marketers in the past. But today’s marketing teams need to shed the “old ways” of lead generation that just aren’t cutting it anymore. 

A low-quality lead is no lead at all, and your sales team will waste time and resources chasing them.

You need high-quality, high-intent leads to fill your sales pipeline because those are the people who are more likely to become loyal, happy customers. That requires a whole new, audience-focused approach to collecting and qualifying leads. 

Shore up your shorthand: Leads edition

From SEO and ROI to ToFu/MoFu/BoFu, marketers love their acronyms. But abbreviations are pretty useless without first defining terms—so let’s pick apart a couple of marketers’ favorites: MQLs and SQLs.

MQL is short for “marketing qualified lead.” An MQL has given a brand their contact information (typically their email) and indicated either directly or via their behavior that they want to learn more.

If someone’s early on in their buying journey—maybe they’re aware they have a problem but haven’t started comparing solutions—savvy marketing teams will send relevant content to:

  • answer their questions

  • serve as a resource for them 

  • keep their brand and product top of mind for that lead

A caution here, though—a person who filled out a contact form with their email isn’t necessarily an MQL. If they’re truly qualified, they need to set themselves apart in some way that shows they’re likely to buy later. A download of high-level, general information doesn’t signify an MQL on its own unless the person has browsed other content or expressed interest in other ways.

Once the marketing team notices that someone is getting closer to a purchase—like browsing product-focused content or downloading case studies—it’s probably time to send them over to the sales team. At that point, they’ll turn from an MQL into…

An SQL: A “sales qualified lead.” These are interested parties who haven’t just been qualified by marketing, but they’ve also been vetted by the sales crew. They’ve probably hopped on a discovery call because they’re close to buying.

These double-qualified leads are in a critical decision-making stage. They’re comparing solutions, running numbers, thinking hard about make-or-break features, and talking to anyone who has to sign off on a purchase. By the time someone’s considered an SQL, sales reps are usually working hard to turn a very interested lead into a very happy customer.

Why do these definitions even matter? Because a little lead segmentation goes a long way for marketing and sales teams.

The most accurate and scalable way to segment leads is to listen closely to them with a lead qualification form; it takes the guesswork out of sorting MQLs from SQLs. 

A great qualification form collects details about a lead, like their interest in your offerings, budget range, and job title, to gauge whether they’re a match for your products or services. When prospective leads respond to the form, you gain valuable information to point them to their next best steps.

Help your high-quality leads help themselves

Few sales interactions are more unpleasant than a conversation where the prospect isn’t actually interested. Without solid lead qualification in place, sales conversations can be fruitless—wasted energy for your team and potential customers. 

Marketers have long relied on third-party cookies to deliver data from potential leads browsing their websites. But the problem with third-party data collection is that these potential prospects are often low-intent—they aren’t ready to talk to sales, and they might never be. 

On top of existing third-party limitations (and privacy concerns that come with cookies), marketers now have to contend with the fact that third-party cookies aren’t long for this world. With Google poised to phase out 1% of cookies in the first quarter of 2024—with the other 99% sure to be close behind—marketers need new methods for understanding their audiences. 

The way forward? Zero- and first-party data collection like lead qualification forms. Respondents offer up their data freely and voluntarily. Best of all, these methods lead to higher-intent, better-fit leads because the leads themselves take the first step of filling out the form.

The benefits of self-service lead qualification forms don’t stop there. Lead surveys also:

  • Confirm market fit and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Leads who show interest via a form paint a picture of the people your product or services are right for. Review form results to hone in on your target personas and core details about them.

  • Provide reliable data for every team at your company. Hard data about best-fit leads helps everyone level up. Marketing teams can strengthen messaging and strategy. Product can build better features for the right use cases. Sales can offer better demos and reach out to the right prospects the first time for better close rates and more revenue.

  • Improve lead scoring. Lead qualification should be more than a gut feeling—and lead scoring puts a number on it. Lead scoring within a form gives each response a numerical value, so you can spot quality leads at a glance and pass them along to sales, stat. (They’ll love you forever!)

  • Guide you to the best attribution model. To optimize your marketing efforts, you need to know where your most qualified leads come from. A lead survey can tell you which marketing channel or messaging finally convinced them to talk to your sales team—which is critical feedback for your team. Data about your most qualified leads can reveal whether you should choose an attribution model that involves multiple touchpoints or a single touchpoint—all depending on your marketing goals.

Clearly, lead qualification surveys strengthen lead generation efforts and your business as a whole. But maybe most importantly, they benefit your leads. TrustRadius recently found that virtually 100% of B2B buyers want to self-manage their buying experience

Tools like lead qualification surveys give prospects their ideal journey; they get to engage with you on their terms. By the time your sales team interacts with them, they’ll be in the perfect position to start the conversation. They’ll be ready to talk to you, and you’ll know they’re a great fit, too.

Your step-by-step lead qualification crash course

Now that you know why lead qualification surveys are a winning strategy, let’s move on to the how. Here’s how to build and use a lead qualification form.

Step 1: Strategize

Like every form you create, a lead qualification form needs a solid strategy behind it. Ask yourself a few questions before you begin building your survey. 

Start by outlining the structure of the form. Consider these questions first: 

  • What do your leads need from you, and why are they getting in touch in the first place?

  • What information do you need to qualify them and move forward? 

  • What next steps do you want your leads to take? 

  • What next steps will you take?

Answer these questions to keep your survey focused on the essentials. Every question needs to tie back to your end goal and your potential lead’s needs.

After you’ve thought about your goals, you’re ready to think about content. 

Stay focused

A lead qualification form is not the time to ask leads for their life story. You want to ask only the critical questions you need answered so your sales team can prepare for a call. Try to make your lead qualification form no longer than six questions.

Keep it light and conversational. 

Know your audience

Think about your target audience and what kind of experience they expect from your brand, product, and team. This will inform what elements you’ll want in your form. 

  • Will a welcome screen help your audience feel endeared to your brand, or will it distract them? 

  • Would they appreciate a playful or sarcastic tone, or do you need to keep it strictly professional? 

  • Will your respondents want any info on your products or services in the form itself, or are they strictly there to book a meeting?

This form should be short and sweet, so you won’t have their attention for long. Make the most of the time you have.

Step 2: Build your form

Now that you’ve got a game plan, you’re ready to create your lead qualification survey. 

Want to plug and play? Start with our lead qualification form template, broken down for you here as well:

1. Begin by asking what products or services they’re looking for. You’ll want a multiple-choice question that features your most popular offerings, and be sure to include an “I’m not sure” option or a similar answer. Make this question required—it’s an important one!

Qualifying a lead? First, ask them what services they’re looking for.

2. Ask a follow-up question related to whichever response they chose. For instance, if they selected website copywriting, ask for their current website URL or samples of ones they enjoy. If they need social media management, request their social media handles. (You’ll need to use Logic and Branching eventually, but you’ll add that later.)

3. Create a question that measures their purchase potential. Budget is a key factor in assessing whether they’re a qualified lead. You can ask them to pinpoint their budget on a scale or select their budget range in a multiple-choice question.

Ask leads to share their general budget to see if your pricing is a match.

4. You’ll need to follow up with qualified leads somehow, so collect details like name (you only need their first name at this point!) and email or phone number. Be choosy with the details you ask for here—only collect information you’ll actually use. 

5. Wrap up with an optional open-text response for leads to give any other information or ask questions.

6. Finally, finish the form with a few clear next-step options, like booking a meeting with a sales rep, watching a recorded demo, or downloading a resource.

Pro tip: This final screen is a great place to recall information like their first name—also called “piping”—so you can address them personally: “Thanks, Quinn! We can’t wait to work with you.” (Typeform research found that piping correlates with a 10% increase in form completion.)

Congrats, now you’ve got a lead qualification form! Next, you’ll want to go back and add logic after finishing the form questions. Define conditions and follow-up questions to map out the flow of your form until it’s just right. This is where you’ll indicate that “If they answered, ‘I need help with my website,’ then jump to ‘What is your website URL?’”

Use logic and branching to customize each lead’s form experience.

Logic creates a personalized journey through the form. When you only ask relevant questions, you capture a more detailed picture of each person’s needs—and whether your product or service can help.

Another pro tip: Ask a friend or coworker to fill out the form a few times, choosing each of the different answers for each test, to see if the logic works properly before you publish the form.

Ready for some real-life form magic? Try the new Typeform Lead Qualification feature

 lets you assign point values to each multiple-choice response. You’ll give higher values to answers that indicate a more qualified lead, like a need that matches one of your signature offerings or a budget range that matches your pricing. 

Lead scoring like this empowers marketers and sales reps to prioritize the most qualified leads in the pipeline. You can even set up notifications and automatic follow-up workflows that fire when someone gives answers that add up to a high lead score.

Step 3: Collect responses and review your findings

You might have the best lead qualification form out there, but if you aren’t taking action and turning those qualified leads into customers, all that hard work goes to waste. 

Connect your CRM to Typeform to send all of your responses to a central location. Typeform integrations make it easy to send qualified lead details straight to HubSpot, Salesforce, or whichever solution you use to manage customer relationships. 

Get this—you can map each question from your form to a contact field in your CRM, so all of the new information lives in one place where everyone can access it. Just make sure the email address question is marked “required” in your typeform so your CRM creates a new contact entry for each new lead.

As leads start to roll in, conduct both automated and manual review of responses. Take time to comb through the data for any surprising (or even concerning) patterns. Look at your high- and low-scoring leads. If you notice that a lot of respondents aren’t actually qualified, maybe your messaging needs to be adjusted—your website could be misleading certain audiences into thinking your services are right for them.

Who knows? Your lead qualification data might even uncover a new target audience. Unpacking the data is invaluable for your marketing strategy, so don’t skimp on studying your leads as they come in.  

Step 4: Iterate

Your first version of your lead qualification form likely won’t be your last. You’ll need to make changes over time to increase response rates and quality. Set a regular cadence of reviewing form responses, not just to pass them to sales, but to make sure your form is the best it can be.

Maybe you notice that potential leads consistently start your qualification form but drop off at a particular question. Do some digging to assess if the question’s wording is confusing or if it’s irrelevant to most of your audience, then edit accordingly.

If you notice respondents are dropping off, but not on one specific question, your survey may be too long. Remember: our research says the shorter the form, the higher the completion rate—so aim for a completion time of under a minute. 

If your dropoff rate is high, look for questions to cut. If you’re struggling with this, ask your sales team what information from the lead qualification form is most helpful to them before discovery calls, and remove the rest.

Are your leads clicking into the form without progressing any further? Maybe you need to add a welcome screen that sets the scene and reassures them they’re in the right place, rather than jumping into questions immediately. 

A welcome screen tells leads they’re in the right place.

Whatever red flags you find, dig deeper to discover what’s keeping people from completing the form. The problem could also lie in your distribution process. We’ll explore that next.

Next steps: promote and distribute

After building your survey, getting it out into the wild is the next most important next step. 

First and foremost, your lead qualification survey should live on your website. It’s an ideal call to action after someone looks at bottom-of-funnel content like case studies or content about your product’s features. 

You can set up your survey as a full page or get creative—embed the form as a pop-up or a slider. These methods meet your audience where they already are; they won’t even have to leave the current webpage.

There are lots of ways to embed your lead qualification form on your site.

Promote your survey through channels beyond your website. Lean on email, social, and even digital ads. The more chances you give your audience to self-select as a lead, the more likely you’ll encounter them at just the right time—when they’re ready for the next step.

You might think that opting in as a lead is its own reward. But you still should consider offering incentives to encourage them to complete your form. Let them know they’ll receive some sort of gift, from exclusive access to a community or a special discount to a personalized guide, or even a gift card to thank them for their time.

It’s up to you to make sure leads know the big picture of why they should take the time to respond. From the CTA inviting them to fill out your form to the welcome screen, to even the outro after they’ve finished, remind your leads why they’re there. 

One last thing: Make it clear that they are the intended audience by succinctly sharing who your products or services help and how you do it—they should see themselves reflected in this messaging. Plus, if you can tell them your survey takes a minute or less, they’ll know you’re not going to waste their time.

You’re bound to get more responses (and more high-intent leads) along the way.

Ready for your lead qualification transformation?

Self-service lead qualification wins for so many reasons. But most importantly, it keeps your sales team from chasing low-intent, poor-quality leads—a waste of time for everyone involved. 

Instead, you can focus your energy on connecting with prospects who are likely to actually become customers. With the right lead qualification form in hand, you’ll spot qualified leads right away and gain in-depth audience data to improve your marketing and better serve your current and future customers.

Need a hand building forms your leads will love? You’ll want Typeform’s AI-powered features in your toolbelt. It’s now easier than ever to improve your questions, brand your forms, and act on responses. 

With Typeform, you can rest easy knowing that your leads aren’t the only thing that’s high-quality—your forms are top-notch, too.

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