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A List of B2B Lead Qualification Criteria by Category

I was thinking about all the lead qualification criteria I’ve seen used in B2B lead generation programs and started listing them by category. Here’s what I came up with so far:

  • Firmographics (Industry, company size, location)
  • Demographics (Contact’s title, job function)
  • Contactability (Phone number, email address)
  • Action taken (Attended webinar, downloaded whitepaper, requested pricing, spent time on certain Web pages)
  • Need for your product or service
  • Fit (Your products or services meet or exceed their technical, performance, reliability requirements)
  • Competition (What other competitors are involved and can you win against them? )
  • Contact’s role in the purchase decision process (Recommender, influencer, decision maker)
  • Timing (Purchase decision timing, implementation timing)
  • Availability of funding for the purchase (Has budget, can get budget)
  • Size of the opportunity (Quantity needed, revenue potential)

What criteria do you use to determine that leads are qualified as being ready for sales follow up?

How do those criteria fall into the categories above? Are there additional categories of criteria I should add to the list? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


There is one criteria that you don’t mention specifically and it could be a subset of Action Taken. That would be the frequency and quality of the actions taken. In a typical lead scoring situation one action would score lower than 3 or 4 different actions. When combined with the other criteria you obviously begin to get a clearer picture of level of interest. Otherwise, you have a very good list.


I think it’s helpful know know what buying stage the company is in. For example, Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Sales teams like to engage at different points depending on the company. If you’re working with your marketing team to create demand, there could be set times where you’re reaching out to people even in the earliest stages.



You are absolutely correct. Frequency, quality and quantity of actions taken should be added to the list of B2B lead qualification criteria.




Thanks for weighing in. I agree, stage of the buying process (from awareness to inquiry to consideration to ready to purchase) are approporiate for many companies.

However, I’ve found that sometimes getting sales involved only after the prospect is ready to buy is too late to influence their purchase.




This is a great summary and is the way to look at building and managing lead databases for effective B2B campaigns, whether its email, direct mail, telemarketing or any other campaign. Like the comments above, I think all of us agree that these are perfect data points, but the real world challenge lies in building a process to assimilate this sort of data for all target accounts over a period of them and then be committed to maintain it. Based on what we see in the market, few companies are able to get it right.

What has been your experience? What kinds of tools/solutions are companies using to achieve this quality of data on target accounts?




In answer to your questions, please watch for an upcoming post on sources of lists or databases for B2B lead generation.




This is a great list but another key factor in behaviour tracking is the timing. We recommend a higher score if a specific key activity occurred in the last 30 days. In addition, if an activity hasn’t occurred within a specific time, the score should be reduced. In this way, sales or your demand gen team are aware of which leads that are taking the right actions at the right time and warrant immediate follow up.



Yes, recency plays a role in B2B lead qualification and scoring.

In fact, direct marketers have been using recency, along with frequency and monetary, as the three primary criteria for determining those most likely to buy again.

Hey, direct marketers: Isn’t it interesting to see the rest of the marketing world finally start thinking like direct marketers? I wonder what took them so long?

– Mac


Your list is a great start, Mac. I would add the following:

Current environment (related to your solution and/or service – such as technical environment)

Mapping of decision-maker roles beyond (above and below) your primary contact. For strategic solutions, there is usually a decision-approver who is frequently hidden from the process. You may not get to that person, but you need to know they exist and what their agenda is.

A compelling event is required in addition to need. Companies need all kinds of things, but they buy what they have to have, not what they want to have.

With all of these elements (yours and mine), marketing and sales executives have what they need to properly engage a prospect.



The criteria you suggested certainly apply when the sales is of technical nature (i.e. A customer using SAP is less likely to buy a CRM application from Microsoft), or when it is an enterprise-level sale involving multiple decision-makers and influencers.

And, yes, in today’s “Great Recession” companies’ CFO’s approve or release funds only for what they believe their company needs, not just what their people want. However, before the dot com bubble burst? Not so much. Lots of “shelf ware” was sold then. But since then CFO’s have pulled the purse strings tight again.


Great listing. It’s really helpful for B2B lead generation programs. Thanks for sharing.


All great points. However, as several of the responses allude: these are mostly data points.

In the end are not always enough to get the REAL decision maker to step out from the executive group and take ownership, to sign on the bottom line. Today’s economy requires an unusually high level of perceived need first. So one must think about a strategy of reasons to buy now without sounding desperate.

In our business, I create series of unique opportunities by listening carefully to the various players. Addressing their pain points creates a type of urgency…. (example, if you’ve got their remedy so exact, so precise, so compelling that it is apparent that waiting is costing them money).

In the end, I believe it is emotion that creates the purchase. The classic “pain or pleasure”. Many sales models could be improved by encouraging their sales force to build that into their followup strategy.


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