Building a Profitable Sales Process - Qualify the Opportunity
Here's a radical idea - let's have your sales team qualify opportunities before you prepare a quote! Too many sales organizations seem to use a "quote and hope" strategy that rarely drives consistent revenue growth.
If you asked your sales people and sales managers what's the most important area to explore in the qualification process you'll probably hear "budget". And that's good, profitable business begins by working with customers who can afford your product or service. But there is much more to the qualification process than just finding out if they can afford to pay you.
Here are eight (8) questions to have your sales managers ask when coaching your sales people to review opportunities at the "qualification" stage of your sales process:
Have we uncovered all of the issues and do we fully understand the impact our product or service will have on the prospect's situation?
Does the prospect agree with all the issues we have identified and do they have urgency to make a change?
Have we discussed the investment required to implement our solution or purchase our product and does the prospect understand the value this investment will create?
Do we understand the prospect's timeline for when they need our product or solution and do we have the capacity to take on this work within the timeline the prospect requires?
Do we understand the prospect's decision process, know all of the stakeholders involved, and have a strategy to leverage our advocates and covert (or at least neautralize) our detractors?
Have we asked enough questions about the competitive context in which the prospect is making this decision? Do we know the advantages our solution provides and how these advantages fit into and align with their buying criteria?
Do we have all of the technical information we need to produce an accurate quote? Has the prospect provided contact information for any technical people on their side (engineers, quality control, etc.) we may need to contact with clarifying questions as we prepare our quote?
Have we clearly defined what happens when the prospect receives our quote? Has the prospect agreed to make a decision? Have we set up a meeting to review the quote and go over any questions?
And of course there may be more questions your sales manager should add that are specific to your business. What would happen if your sales managers regularly asked these types of questions of your sales people?
Would the quality of your quotes and estimates go up? Would the total number of quotes sent out go down? Would your sales people win more deals?
Too many companies use a "quote and hope" strategy where their sales people use the quoting process as a means to have the discovery conversation they should have had earlier in the sales process.
Too many sales people waste valuable company resources preparing unqualified quotes. And too many sales people (and sales managers) mistake "being busy" with "being productive."
What would happen to your sales results if your team consistently took a more disciplined approach to the qualification stage of your sales process?
Free analysis report Does your sales team have the skills and strengths to effectively qualify the opportunities in your sales funnel? What challenges and weaknesses get in their way? Who on your team is capable of selling at a higher margin? Who can you save and who should you consider replacing or putting into a different role within your organization?
If you're not sure how to answer these questions, ask us for a free overview of our newest tool - the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis™ - and we will follow up with you to find out if it makes sense to talk about helping your sales organization become more effective.