Any great sales process provides consistently enforced qualification criteria. These measures help your sales team ensure that any sales opportunity warrants your investment of time and resources.
Why is qualification so important? It’s important to both the buyer and the seller. Here’s why:
It’s important to the buyer because:
- It optimizes use of the buyer’s time.
- It helps the buyer in defining the problem he/she is trying to solve.
- It helps the buyer secure executive buy-in for funding the solution.
It’s important to the seller because:
- It optimizes the use of your time.
- It ensures that all of your activities impact revenue.
- It exposes problems within the opportunity.
- It provides clarity for next steps.
- It eliminates surprises.
Three Ways to Improve Your Qualification Process
1. Customer Verifiable Outcomes
We talk a lot about using Customer Verifiable Outcomes to build qualification into the sales process. These buying indicators help provide you with the necessary information to advance the opportunity to the next stage of the buying process. They may include things like (1) the organization has to invest resources around a new product or a recent acquisition, or (2) your prospects may have documented pain points that they’re under pressure to correct. Sellers that use Customer Verifiable Outcomes are able to better validate deals, where they otherwise would be guessing.
2. Standard Qualification Criteria
Standard qualification criteria also helps keep sales process benchmarks top-of-mind. The MEDDIC acronym is a great way to remember this criteria.
- Metrics: Quantifiable measurements of the business benefits of the solution
- Economic Buyer: Individual within the organization who has the final “yes”
- Decision Criteria: Formal solution requirements in which each decision maker will evaluate the solution
- Decision Process: How the customer will evaluate, select, and purchase a solution
- Identify Pain: Pain is the catalyst for the buyer solving the problem within a set timeframe.
- Champions: A person with influence in the buying organization. They have an investment in your solution being selected.
3. Qualification Tools
Developing tools like Opportunity Qualifiers and Pre-Call Planners will help your sales team consistently manage opportunities. Inspecting and reinforcing with these tools will hold sellers accountable to their use. It will also help your managers determine when and where to apply additional selling resources.
Remember, simply following a sales process doesn’t guarantee the deal will close. Make sure your team is consistently qualifying all opportunities with customer verifiable outcomes throughout the sales process. It’s a sure way to prove an opportunity warrants your investment of time and resources.
Qualification helps a seller to maximize his/her efforts. The same benchmarks can also be just as effective at indicating when it’s time to walk away. When you try to qualify a deal, and the information you collect tells you that the opportunity isn’t a good fit, move on. Remember, the time you spend trying to turn around a dwindling deal is valuable time that you aren’t spending on qualifying better opportunities.
Work smarter. Don’t spend too much time on a deal that won’t happen, and don’t waste time on delays that you could have foreseen with a better qualification process.