5 Models for Superior Lead Qualification in 2024 (Free Checklist)

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Good lead generation isn’t about mega numbers; it’s about mega quality.

Two qualified leads are 10x better than 100 unqualified leads.

Now, what do qualified and unqualified really mean? And what does it have to do with the success rate of your lead generation efforts?

That’s exactly what we’ll decode in this post for you.

We’ll walk you through the entire science of lead qualification and how it optimizes the sales funnel to make it a sponge for ready-to-buy customers.

You’ll also gain access to an expert-backed guide on how you can start qualifying leads for your business right now — using proven frameworks and a top-rated software that most lead-gen experts use.

Let’s get started!

What is lead qualification?

Lead qualification is simply the process of passing your leads through a ‘filter’ to determine the following:

  • Will they convert into a customer?
  • How quickly will they convert into a customer?
  • Do they have the potential to become a long-term customer?

The filter is a series of questions you ask the prospects (directly or indirectly).

The exact questions vary from business to business. But there are certain frameworks that can help you come up with what those questions should be. We’ll discuss these frameworks in a bit.

💡 What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is like giving points to potential customers based on how likely they are to buy your product or service. A high score indicates that the lead matches your ideal customer profile and is ready to purchase from you.

Example: A lead from the target industry visits your website and downloads a whitepaper. They earn 10 points.

Then, they request a product demo and exhibit a strong interest in your product. As per the lead scoring model you’ve set up, this action earns them 20 points.

Overall, they gain 30 points. This qualifies them as a hot prospect for immediate sales follow-up.

But wait – why are you qualifying leads in the first place? Why can’t you simply market, market, market until they just buy?

Well, that’s because it means a waste of precious time and money.

Whenever you get a lead, you need to identify where they stand in the buying continuum…

…And what is their actual intention to buy in the present moment.

Based on your findings, you direct them to the next logical step in pushing them toward the purchase. Or, let’s say, deeper into your sales funnel.

There is no point in sending 50% off emails to someone who just liked a post on your business page.

And there’s no point in sending emails about ‘what are solar panels’ to someone who’s already asked you about the warranty of your solar panels. You want to show them content that reassures them that they can trust you and make the purchase.

Do you get the idea?

Now, let’s check out what disqualifies a lead as well as some ways to categorize qualified leads (and why you need to do it!).

Lead VS Qualified Lead

A lead is simply someone who expresses some initial interest in your product or service.

Once you gather more data about this lead and figure out that they align with your ICP and lead qualification criteria, they become a qualified lead for your business. Now, you pursue them actively.

That said, is there something like the disqualification of leads?


Say you get a lead, you gather data about them (via a fun quiz or a discovery call), and you find out they do not meet your lead qualification criteria. This is when you ‘disqualify’ the lead to save your time and resources.

Now, disqualification here simply means you either decline their request (suggest an appropriate alternative instead) or put them on a low-priority list.

Here are a few more in-depth differences between a lead and a qualified lead:

Lead Qualified Lead
Definition An individual or a company that shows some initial interest in your product or service. A lead that has been evaluated and meets specific criteria indicates a higher likelihood of conversion.
Level of Interest Shows some level of interest but may not be fully aware of their needs or not ready to make a purchasing decision. Demonstrates a higher level of interest. They are well aware of their options and are ready to make a purchasing decision.
Information Provided Basic contact information like name and email address. Provides details such as specific needs, budget, decision-making authority, timeframe for purchase, preferences, etc.
Qualification Criteria No specific qualification criteria. Meets predetermined criteria established by your business. (More on this under ‘lead qualification models’)
Sales Engagement Requires further nurturing and education to move them along the sales funnel. Qualified for direct sales engagement and further steps in the sales process.
Conversion Potential Uncertain conversion potential as they may not align with your target customer profile. Higher conversion potential due to meeting specific criteria and displaying strong buying signals.
Sales Effort Requires more effort and resources to convert into a customer. More likely to convert, resulting in more efficient use of sales resources.
Sales Funnel Stage Usually at the top or middle of the sales funnel. Moves towards the middle or bottom of the sales funnel, closer to making a purchasing decision.
Marketing Focus Marketing efforts focus on lead generation and capturing initial interest. Marketing efforts aim to qualify leads and provide targeted content to move them toward conversion.

Now that we’re clear on lead VS qualified lead let’s look into two more divisions of qualified leads:

  • B2B Qualified Leads: These are businesses or organizations that meet the lead qualification criteria of a B2B company.
  • B2C Qualified Leads: These are individual consumers that meet the lead qualification criteria of a B2C company.

Generally, the lead qualification process is simpler in the B2C environment. That’s because, in a B2C environment, all you may have to do is check how prospects are answering your questions or interacting with your content – to qualify and pursue them.

The complexity of this process increases in a B2B environment. You have to first figure out which of the following stages they are in and then pursue them accordingly.


A marketing-qualified lead or an MQL is a lead that shows some interest in your business by interacting with marketing content. For example, they may have downloaded a PDF or signed up for an eBook.

This type is farthest away from making a purchase and are usually identified by the marketing department of a B2B company.


A sales qualified lead or an SQL is a lead that exhibits strong buying signals. It could be in the form of requesting a product demo, inquiring about pricing or payment method, engaging in detailed discussions, etc.

These signals show that they are ready for direct sales engagement. So, the sales team may take over the conversations. Conduct further qualification, address specific needs, and guide them through the buying process.


A product qualified lead or a PQL is directly qualified by the product. This means they have demonstrated a strong interest by engaging with the product itself. It could be in the form of:

  • Signing up for a free trial
  • Using the product
  • Completing specific product-related milestones, etc.

The lead qualification process for PQLs is relatively easier.

💡Remember, it is important to categorize your B2B qualified leads to ensure:

  • Scoring leads and prioritizing those with the highest scores
  • Efficient resource allocation
  • Alignment between sales and marketing
  • Development of customized engagement strategies
  • Easy tracking, analysis, and optimization of conversion rates

Top 5 Lead Qualification Models

There are five proven lead qualification models used in the lead generation industry.

They help experts come up with the right questions to ask the prospects. And also, help gain in-depth insights about data that tells if the prospect will even buy from you or not.

These models include:


BANT is one of the earliest sales lead qualification methodologies. It got introduced back in the 1950s and it is still useful for many renowned names in the B2B space. It stands for:

Framework Component What your questions regarding this component should tell you…
Budget How much money is the prospect willing to spend on the solution?
Authority Who will make the purchase decision?
Need How important is the problem to the prospect?
Time How quickly does the prospect need to solve the problem in context?


Soon after BANT, ANUM became popular as an alternative to BANT. It uses authority as the prime factor to qualify a lead. Here’s what it stands for:

Framework Component What your questions regarding this component should tell you…
Authority Is your lead the decision-maker of the company? Figuring this out lands you a pre qualified lead – meaning the lead aligns with your ICP right off the bat.
Need The ‘N’ here is the same as BANT; Does their problem really align with the solution you offer?
Urgency How eager are they to solve their problem? What’s the timeframe? Is there any negative impact faced by the lead if they delay acquiring a solution?
Money Does the lead have enough budget to afford your product/service? You might want to begin by figuring out their ROI expectations and monthly revenue.


MEDICC is a super detailed framework that demands quite a lot of data from the lead. It demands more work but also yields great results. It helped the person who ideated MEDICC, i.e. Jack Napoli, triple the sales for his company. He reached a figure of $1 billion from $3 million in only four years.

Here’s what MEDICC stands for:

Framework Component What your questions regarding this component should tell you…
Metrics What is the lead’s true motivation and the KPIs that they truly value?
Economic Buyer Who authorizes the final decision?
Decision Criteria What factors do they consider when making a purchase? It will help you come up with a more persuasive pitch.
Decision Process What is the step-by-step decision-making process of your lead? This helps figure out their timeline, formal buying procedure, and other imp details.
Identify Pain This is like ‘need’ in BANT and ANUM, except you have to be very specific about their pain point. Say there’s a manufacturing company that’s losing money (say $6000) to electricity. You can win them by sharing how you can help cut down the bill by 50% or 70% with solar panels.
Champion Who’s the internal champion for your product/service? This should be an influential person working within the company that you’re trying to sell to (manager, supervisor, advisor, etc.). Given this factor, this lead qualification framework is not usable for every lead gen company. If you don’t have an internal champion, you can’t really make it work.


CHAMP is much similar to BANT except that it introduces the concept of prioritization. So, you also consider the level of priority that your offer has in the eyes of the prospect.

Here’s what it stands for:

Framework Component What your questions regarding this component should tell you…
Challenges What challenges does the lead face? What’s the most crucial or big problem that your product/service can solve?
Authority Is the lead in a decision-making position? Or are they able to bridge the gap between you and the actual decision maker?
Money What’s the budget, and can you actually help increase their ROI?
Prioritization How impactful, urgent, and important is your solution to the lead? If what you solve for them is low on their priorities, they would rank as a low-quality lead for you.


This is a recently developed lead qualification model by HubSpot. According to this, you can qualify leads by the following factors:

Framework Component What your questions regarding this component should tell you…
Goals What are the quantitative goals of the prospect?

Example question: What are the published revenue goals for your company this year?

Plans What are they doing to achieve their goals? How much have they achieved and how much they have to achieve? This will help you get a clear idea about your position in the picture.
Challenges What’s the obstacle that’s keeping the lead from achieving their goals?
Timeline When do they aim to act on their plan and how quickly do they wish to execute it? It will help you figure out if purchasing your solution is a priority for them right now or not.
Budget How much money are they willing to invest in the solution? Are they already investing part of this budget in a similar solution?
Authority Who is the economic decision maker? This does not mean you dismiss a lead who isn’t in a decision-making position. Instead, you can choose to work with them to get a way in.
C (Negative consequences) What are the negative consequences prospects if they do not achieve their goal? (i.e., the risks)
I (Positive Implications) What are the positive implications if they achieve the desired goal? (i.e., the benefits)

How to Qualify Leads?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to qualify leads:

1. Figure Out What You Need to Know about Your Customer

You know, when you put out your offer and you speak to everyone, you are practically speaking to no one.

What does that mean?

Let’s say you sell an eBook. And you begin your marketing process by simply creating an ad and running it on various social media platforms.

Safe to say you’re trying to sell your product to whoever wants to buy it. You do not know what kind of person you want to sell the eBook to.

Such an approach can result in a sale or two. But it will never bring you a constant supply of leads or help develop a stable business.

For that, you need to know what a perfect buyer of your product or service looks like (in terms of firmographic data, pain points, and buying process).

You can learn this by creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

By definition, an ICP is a fictional profile of the type of customers you want to attract. You can develop this profile by:

  • Studying existing customer data
  • Conducting market research, surveys, interviews
  • Studying competitor’s customer base
  • Analyzing website analytics or social media analytics
  • Reviewing your business goals and missions

Learn more about how to develop an ICP over here.

And if you wish to see how ICP literally kickstarts every lead gen business model, visit the step-by-step business building process in our Pay Per Appointment Guide.

Note that knowing your ICP will help you figure out what you need to learn about your customers.

It will help you in choosing the right lead qualification framework and come up with the right questions.

It will also help you figure out what’s the quickest and most appropriate marketing tactic that they’ll respond to.

2. Pick a lead qualification framework

Study your product/service and review your business goals.

Based on this info as well as your ICP, determine which of the lead qualification models given above will best help you learn relevant things about your target audience (and consequently achieve your business goals).

For example, let’s say you run a travel agency that specializes in luxury vacations. You have a business goal of targeting high-net-worth individuals who seek personalized travel experiences.

Since your service includes customized itineraries and exclusive accommodations and your ICP consists of affluent travelers, you can settle for GPCTBA/C&I.

Why? Well, that’s because this framework focuses more on the goals, plans, and wants of the target audience, which aligns with what you’re selling.

You cannot use MEDDIC in this case because it focuses more on metrics-driven decision-making (your lead WANTS to visit Paris even if a trip to Bali means a good experience + low costs. They don’t care about measurable metrics here!)

Similarly, BANT is not suitable because luxury travelers are more concerned with tailored experiences than strict budgets.

Along the same lines, let’s say you’re a fence contractor. You offer high-end residential fencing, and your target audience comprises homeowners who value privacy, security, and aesthetics.

In this scenario, CHAMP is a better choice than ANUM or any other lead qualification framework.

Again – why is that so? Well, that’s because you offer high-end residential fencing and:

  • Your audience is not concerned too much about the budget (rules out the ‘budget’ factor)
  • There is no other competitive ‘need’ in sight (rules out ‘need’ factor)
  • The job is not too elaborate, and your target customers don’t probably have detailed plans for their fencing needs (rules out ‘goals’ and ‘plans’ factors)
  • They are willing to consider all available options and currently browsing the market (rules out the ‘urgency’ factor)

What your potential leads might base their decisions on is the ‘challenge’ factor. Different homeowners who can afford your fencing services might be facing different challenges, such as being unable to find the right texture or color of the fence wood.

With that said, here’s a lead qualification checklist to help you pick the right framework:

Audience Characteristics BANT ANUM CHAMP MEDDIC GPCTBA/C&I
Decision-making Authority
Budget Constraints
Clearly Identified Need
Urgency or Time Sensitivity
Complex Challenges
Metrics and KPI-driven
Multi-stakeholder Decision Process
Emphasis on Pain Identification
Goals and Plans Clarity
Negative Consequences & Positive Implications
Critical Events or Triggers

3. Pick a lead-scoring model

Next, come up with a lead-scoring model for your business.

How to do that?

Well, you have an ICP, and you have shortlisted a suitable framework for qualifying leads. Now, it’s time to study your past leads.

Analyze the characteristics of the most successful conversions. Find out what your ideal customers looked like and what drove their purchasing decisions.

Look for patterns, identify key indicators of buying intent, and understand the buying behavior that distinguishes high-quality leads. And then assign points to each piece of information.

For example, let’s say you extract info for ‘company size’ for each of your previous clients. You can assign points like this:

  1. Small Business (1-50 employees): 5 points
  2. Medium-Sized Business (51-500 employees): 10 points
  3. Large Enterprise (501+ employees): 15 points

Fishing out meaningful info about previous clients and assigning points to each piece of info will help you build an effective lead scoring model that accurately predicts the likelihood of a lead converting into a customer.

Now, we understand studying past data in such depth is way too demanding and time-consuming. You might end up needing to hire a very expensive data analyst to get this done.

So, what you can do instead is subscribe to LeadsHook’s 14-day free trial.

Run an absolutely free quiz campaign on your site and gather fresh data about the most recent web visitors and potential leads.

It’s a much quicker route to collecting accurate data that you need to build a lead scoring model. Plus, it doesn’t cost a penny!

This method is also useful for those who are starting fresh and have no previous customer data.

4. Segment leads into groups for further qualification

After settling for a lead scoring model, you’ll be able to divide your leads into MQLs, SQLs, and PQLs. Or let’s say, you’ll be able to segment them into high-priority and low-priority.

The grouping will speed up your qualification process since you’ll know where to focus first.

We recommend utilizing lead qualification tools like LeadsHook to automate segmentation. It saves time and keeps solid money-making opportunities from slipping away.

5. Reach out, nurture, and close

The only step after segmentation is reaching out to your most promising leads.

Ask questions to qualify sales leads and sell your product/service to them. If the lead is an MQL, you might have to nurture them a bit (let’s 10 emails or 3 calls – as per your business model), before you actually close them.

This step is a piece of cake if you’ve nailed the first three.

Here’s How to Ask Unlimited Questions & Still Qualify Lightning Fast⚡

You have your lead qualification strategy all setup; you know what questions to shoot.

But how do you ask these questions from your lead? You cannot expect them to fill out a 50-question static form – it’ll definitely annoy them. You cannot also ‘pick their brain’ on a 20-minute discovery call without coming off interrogative (trust us, they hate it).

So, how do you do it smoothly?

The answer is pretty simple — use a mode of conversation that makes them feel they’re being helped right at the moment.

  • Use a fun quiz that rewards the user at the end (with personalized calculations, stats, or a lead magnet)
  • Use an interactive form that dynamically changes form fields based on their input. And thus, makes the ‘questionnaire’ appear to be exclusively for them.

At LeadsHook, we can help you with that and the entire lead qualification process. You can automate the ENTIRE process with accuracy and 100% customized workflows using the following features:

🔥 Email, phone number, and IP address verification: Validate lead information to minimize fake or inaccurate data.

🔥 Custom verification rules: Set up specific criteria to verify leads based on your business needs.

🔥 Conditional Branching: Use decision trees with branching paths to direct the flow of the form based on users’ responses. Display relevant questions only.

🔥 Lead Scoring and Segmentation: Assign scores or tags to the type of response received at every step of the decision tree. Once the quiz or form is live and someone fills it out, scores will be automatically assigned, and your leads will be segmented based on that.

🔥 Data Collection and Reporting: Study the lead data captured and stored by decision trees. It helps identify trends and optimize the lead generation process.

🔥 Automation and Follow-up: Set up trigger actions, notifications, or follow-up sequences based on the user’s journey through the decision tree.

Using these features, you can create a variety of interactive questionnaires.

Deploy them on your website. Capture every single detail you need about your leads.

Automatically segment. And then even direct them to the next step as soon as they meet the qualification criteria!

THIS is why expert lead generation professionals count on LeadsHook to build robust lead qualification systems. It’s custom, automated, and highly reliable. It leaves room for the juicier part of the process, i.e., ‘nurturing leads’ and ‘closing sales’.

Explore our range of interactive forms and quiz templates to discover different ways to engage your audience and capture valuable lead data.

Once you have your very own quiz built via LeadsHook, you’ll unlock the power to ask unlimited questions and still qualify leads lightning fast⚡

Think you’re ready to up your lead qualification game?

Click the banner below and discover how Justin uses LeadsHook to generate 10.000 leads a day!


How to qualify inbound leads?

Qualifying inbound leads demands much less effort from the sales team. But it follows the same process as outbound leads.

Define your ICP, choose an appropriate lead qualification framework, build a lead scoring model, and then pass your inbound leads through the lead scoring test. Based on results, segment the leads and direct your sales team’s efforts towards the most promising leads.

How to qualify B2B leads?

To qualify B2B leads, you need to have a well-defined ICP, lead qualification framework, and solid lead scoring system. Once you have all three, get yourself a segmentation or marketing automation tool like LeadsHook. Set the qualification system in action.

You can also do manual research, attract outbound leads with a persuasive pitch, and place them in your already-built lead qualification system.

Article By

Romaisa Abbas

I’m a technical writer specializing in B2B SaaS. Other than tea, I’m mostly driven by my passion for innovation — if I’m not writing or studying, you’d most likely find me researching different industry subjects or on LinkedIn.

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