How To Ensure Your Sales Qualification Process is Making a Difference
You've got a sales qualification process in your organization. You feel like it should be making a difference. However, you feel like it still may have room for improvement. We've been there and we've talked to sales leaders just like you who have felt the same way. Here are some areas we encourage them to focus on to ensure their sales qualification process is making a difference.
It's Focused on the Buyer
Don't succumb your prospects to your sales process. Your sales process and your entire customer engagement process needs to be buyer-centric and driven by the actions your customers take along their buying decisions.
There should be a direct correlation between the buyer’s pain and a solution that it will address that pain. Without business pain, there is no business. Equally important, buyers who believe that their pain is clearly understood will be more willing to share critical information throughout the buying process and will work harder to understand the solution being presented.
Qualification methodologies like MEDDICC or MEDDPICC can also ensure your salespeople are doing their due diligence in understanding key components that impact the buying decision (e.g., Metrics, Decision Process, Paper Process, Competition).
If your sales team is effectively qualifying opportunities in and out based on buyer indicators, then there's your sign that the current process is working.
Less Losses to "No Decision" and Shorter Sales Cycles
If you have a qualification process that's producing results, your salespeople know exactly what actions are needed to move a deal forward more efficiently and effectively. They also know how to create urgency and a compelling case that moves a client to action. These factors result in less losses to no decision and shorter sales cycles, two of the strongest indicators of a solid sales process. If you believe in the concept of your salespeople territory as their own business, there's nothing more important for a seller to do. They have to predict and understand where the revenue is coming from for their business. At the same time, they need to understand how to move a buyer to action.
Managers Who Know How to Coach
The most effective way to build a sales team that kills the qualification game is to have a series of coaches who know how to see the gaps in an opportunity and show their reps to fill them. First, your managers should be getting the information they need to inspect the deal. If they are, then they should be able to coach the action steps.
Your front-line managers need the required information to inspect a deal and then they need to be taught how to effectively coach. They have to be able to get the information they need to figure out where the strengths and weaknesses in the opportunity are. Then, they need to be able to coach to what's required for success.
If your qualification process is making a difference, then your managers should:
- Consistently ensure reps follow the identified process and use the tools
- Ensure deals are in the correct sales stage
- Inspects deals using the CRM system and reports
- Use opportunity reviews to coach deal progress
Reps Following the Process
If your sales qualification process is working, then you should have widespread adoption across your account teams. Are your reps forgoing shortcuts and sticking to the process? Here are some other indicators:
- Use of prescribed sales tools
- Deals are qualified in or out early in the process
- Reps set up and capitalize on technical validations
- Reps provide business justification to preserve margin
Your reps should also be able to answer these essential questions on every opportunity:
- Do we belong in this deal?
- Where is the deal strong for us? Where is it weak and for what reasons?
- What actions will move the deal forward more efficiently and effectively?
As with a great deal of practices that improve sales productivity, it comes down to accountability. Accountability for you as a leader to get the sales process right for your organization. Accountability for your managers to follow the process and for your reps to be voracious qualifiers.
Remember, it’s okay not to know – it’s not okay to not be doing anything about it.