The Innovative Marketer's Blog

So Your Sales Team Says Your Leads Are Unqualified

Ross Andrew Simons
Posted by Ross Andrew Simons on May 23, 2014 11:16:00 AM


I was over on the Hubspot blog, and they started this new "Q&A" series, where they take a question that someone has asked them, and center an entire blog around it. 

Post #1 went up today, and it focused on fixing some of the lead generation problems that a blog was having (tons of visits, but not many leads). It was a good post; if you haven't read it yet, you should. 

In the comments section, someone had a different type of problem. She was sending a lot of leads, but the sales team was unhappy with the leads being sent over. Specifically, they were "unqualified". The team would get on the phone with the leads, and nothing would ever come out of it. 

Her question focused on how she could build a definition of a "qualified lead"? She also wondered if the sales team would simply never be happy with the leads she was sending.

I’m taking on the question, because I think it's a good one that causes a lot of clashing between marketing and sales. 

The reality? Yes, there's a good chance that sales simply won't ever be content with what you send. Particularly, if your sales team works on a commission basis, there could always be more, and better, leads sent their way. Likewise, if leads aren't closing, it's easy to say "well marketing hasn't been sending us good leads."

They might not be wrong. Often, marketing activities aren't producing the types of leads that a sales team needs. However, sometimes the sales team simply isn't closing the leads that you're sending.

Therefore, it's super important to work together to identify what a qualified lead looks like, that way you can identify the source of any lead-closing problems.

"How do I determine good leads with my sales team?":

Well first, that is going to involve asking your sales team what they consider a “qualified lead”.

When you’re speaking with your sales team to develop the profile of a qualified lead, you’re looking for two broad types of information:

Lead Traits

What are the traits of a lead that makes them a qualified prospect?

  • Company revenue
  • # of users
  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Etc.

By identifying these traits, you can have better insight into what they are looking for.


What behaviors should a lead be going through in order to consider them “qualified”?

  • eBook downloads
  • webinar views
  • forms filled out
  • lifecycle stage
  • engagement (pageviews, # of visits, etc.)

Lead Scoring

When you get this information built out, you’re going to want to implement some type of scoring mechanism (which can be easily completed using Hubspot and workflows). You should be assigning point values to your leads. For example:

  • someone that is a c-level exec would receive 10 points for having that job title.
  • Someone that has a budget in place will receive 15 points.
  • Someone who has downloaded a TOFU eBook will have 5 points added.
  • Someone who has filled out a BOFU offer will have 20 points added.

You’re going to want to set up a threshold. At what score (is it 50? 70?) can they be considered “qualified”? For one of my clients, we use the 50 point threshold, but it’s really dependent on how you weight the individual components of your lead score.

When someone passes that threshold, then they get sent to sales. Thus, your job becomes attempting to nurture leads to cross those thresholds.

Building out this lead profile will be useful for two reasons:

  1. It will insure that the leads being sent over to your sales team are qualified, as defined.
  2. It won’t give them the ability to complain about how your leads are not qualified. If you go through the process of building a lead profile, implementing lead scoring, and optimizing – they can’t say anything. If they’re not closing leads into sales, it’s not because you’re not sending qualified leads – it’s because they’re simply not closing them. Maybe they need better sales assets, or training; regardless, it will be clear it’s a sales problem and not a marketing problem.
    • The flipside of this? Be willing to face the music if your leads aren't actually qualified -- and identify ways to make them more qualified.

If you're having this same clash, hopefully this will help solve some of those issues. If you want more detailed help on how to implement lead scoring, feel free to shoot me an email at

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Topics: Lead Generation