Skip to main content

Assessing your Lead: Research Like a Pro

Don't waste time and effort on unqualified leads! Learn effective lead assessment techniques to identify high-value prospects.


This article expands on the initial steps outlined in our previous guide, "Leads into Deals: “The Checklist” for Closing Big Deals".

Securing a lead is exciting, but before diving in, invest some time in assessing the opportunity. This equips you to better align your approach with the potential client, avoid wasted effort, and build trust with the lead from the very beginning.

Here's how to dig deeper and transform a lead into a promising prospect:

1. Lead Source Detective:

  • Uncover the Origin: How did you acquire this lead? Was it a referral, a website form submission, or perhaps an interaction at an industry event? Understanding the source helps you tailor your initial outreach. Referrals often come pre-warmed with some understanding of your services, while a cold lead from SEO might need more context about what you offer.

Tools & Techniques:

  • CRM Integration: Many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms allow you to track lead sources automatically.

First to come in mind:

    • HubSpot CRM: This free CRM offers a robust set of features for lead capture, management, and reporting. It includes tools to track lead source and categorize leads for targeted outreach.
    • Zoho CRM: Another free CRM with a generous freemium plan, Zoho CRM offers lead scoring, web forms, and sales pipeline management. It also integrates with various marketing automation tools.
    • Insightly: This CRM offers a free plan with basic contact management and pipeline features. It allows you to create custom fields to track lead source and other relevant data points. While the free plan has limitations, their paid plans are very affordable for small businesses.
  • Lead Capture Forms: Design your website forms to capture how visitors found you. Here are three affordable form capture tools with free plans:
    • Typeform: This user-friendly tool allows you to create beautiful and engaging forms that feel more like conversations than questionnaires. Their free plan lets you create unlimited forms with up to 10 questions and 100 responses per month.
    • Google Forms: A free and easy-to-use option from Google. While not as visually customizable as Typeform, Google Forms integrates seamlessly with other Google products like Sheets and Docs, making it a convenient choice.
    • JotForm: This free plan allows you to create up to 5 forms with 100 submissions per month. It offers a wide range of form templates and customization options.

2. Website Whispering: Getting those Budget Clues

  • Client Logo Lowdown: Explore the company website's client portfolio. Do the logos represent businesses similar to yours in terms of size and budget? Companies showcasing logos of large corporations might have a higher budget compared to those featuring local businesses. The types of projects they mention for these clients can also shed light on the complexity of work they handle.
  • Careers Page Insights: Many companies list salary ranges for open positions on their careers page. This can be a helpful indicator of their overall budget and the resources they allocate to different departments.
  • Press Releases & Investor Relations: Review the company's press releases and investor relations section of their website. Look for mentions of funding rounds, acquisitions, or major new projects. These can signal budget availability and growth plans that might necessitate your services.
  • Social Media Footprint: While social media content doesn't always directly indicate budget, analyze the types of content they share and the platforms they use most actively. Companies running paid social media advertising campaigns likely have a larger budget for marketing initiatives compared to those relying solely on organic reach.

Tools & Techniques:

  • SimilarWeb: This free tool provides website traffic insights, including top referring sites and audience demographics.
  • Owler: A freemium platform that offers basic company information like funding rounds, which can be a budget indicator for startups and young companies.
  • BuiltWith: This website technology tracker identifies the technology stack used by a website, which can provide clues about the company's budget and resources allocated to their digital presence.
  • Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers: This paid subscription service offers comprehensive business intelligence reports, including financials and credit ratings, which can provide valuable insights into a company's budget and overall health.

3. Industry Intelligence: Become an Expert on Their Challenges

  • Go Beyond News Articles: Industry publications and news are great starting points, but delve deeper. Explore industry association websites, attend relevant webinars or conferences (both online and in-person options exist), and listen to industry podcasts. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the current challenges and trends impacting their business demonstrates your expertise and positions you as a valuable resource.

Tools & Techniques:

  • Industry Associations: Most industries have their own associations that offer resources like research reports, upcoming events, and member directories.
  • Google Alerts: Set up alerts for your lead's industry keywords and company name to stay updated on relevant news and discussions.
  • Social Listening Tools: Free and paid tools like Hootsuite or Brandwatch allow you to monitor social media conversations about industry trends and your lead's company.expand_more

4. Key Decision-Maker Decoder Ring

  • Identify the Power Players: Pinpoint the individuals with buying authority within the company. Company websites often have leadership team pages or departmental contact information. Utilize LinkedIn for advanced searches based on titles (e.g., CEO, CFO, VP of Sales & Marketing) and keywords related to the lead's industry and specific needs.

Tools & Techniques:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: This paid LinkedIn add-on provides advanced search filters and lead intelligence features.expand_more
  • ZoomInfo & DiscoverOrg: These paid sales intelligence platforms offer comprehensive data on businesses and key decision-makers.

Bonus Tip: Develop a clear ideal client profile (ICP) that outlines your target market's characteristics. By comparing your ICP to the information you gather during lead assessment, you can quickly identify high-potential leads.

Remember: Assessing your lead is an investment in your success. By gathering valuable intel and understanding their specific needs, you can craft a compelling message that resonates and positions you as the ideal solution.

This is just the first step! We'll explore the next stages of crafting a winning sales approach in future articles.