Insights on lead qualification by CSMs

Effie Mansdorf
Effie Mansdorf Member Posts: 76 Expert
First Anniversary
edited October 2023 in CS Org Conversations

Many organizations depend on or even measure their CSMs to identify or qualify leads of existing customers. This qualification process is quite different than that of pre-sales, since the CSM has invested time in nurturing the relationship and knows the history and pulse of the customer. 

They can identify upsell and cross sell opps and qualify them by knowing:

  1. Has a department gone through budget cuts - indicator that your product can fill a gap. Alternatively, no budget to spend on new products.
  2. M&A - has the organization gone through an M&A and now needs additional licenses? 
  3. Compelling event - any compelling event that makes an additional product valuable? 
  4. Customer at risk - not a good time for expansion of any kind.

Does anyone have any formal resources or playbooks that can guide CSMs in qualifying expansion opportunities? 


  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary 5 Likes
    edited July 2020

    @Effie Mansdorf, I can share a story of what we did in my last role. We deployed an Opportunity Identification process to encourage CSMs, Customer Support and Professional Services personnel to probe for and hand off CQLs from existing customers to salespeople. If they confirmed it was a legitimate opportunity that they didn't know about, the employee was paid $300. The program generated significant revenue in the first year alone. 

    • We did not set any expectations or quotas--we placed higher value on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation in our non-sales roles--but in cases presenting a clear sales motion, we offered a small incentive.
    • The incentive was paid from the Marketing budget and counted as a lead. From a CPL standpoint, $300 was a bargain. The leads were much higher quality, were much more likely to close, and closed faster.  
    • There was no "zero sum" game. The salesperson was still paid full commission, so there was no penalty for cooperation. We also dispelled any notion that salespeople were expected to know everything that was going on with all of their customers at all times, so there was no judgment associated with someone else finding the lead. 
    • We trained our service people on the products, especially the specific problems each product solved. 
    • We then trained our service people on how to listen for, uncover and verify the opportunities using "PIQCL" (Problem, Importance, Quantify, Consequences, and Look/Listen), a common active listening and objection handling skill in sales. The "L" was a soft close, obtaining permission from the contact to refer the need to their salesperson.
    • We did not expect service people to do full-blown BANT or NTAB sales qualification; that was done in the first follow-up call. Interestingly, rarely were leads unqualified. 
    • Reinforcement via multiple post-training role-playing exercises, showing progress, and recognizing individuals helped set the new habits. 

    Hope that helps.