2. Make Your Sales Teams Voracious Qualifiers
Sales qualification is key to efficiently closing revenue in your organization. The organizations that make their teams voracious qualifiers will be the fastest to recover revenue lost to recent market challenges.
Too often, sales organizations let the qualification process go by the wayside, while they focus on the forecast. Below are some common reasons sales organizations struggle with qualification. If you can see these same traits in your organization, improving your qualification process will be a lynchpin to your revenue recovery.
Too Much Focus on the Short-term
Sales leaders and their teams are focused on the short-term and the current forecast. Struggling sales organizations are all too often having qualification conversations much too late in the quarter or in the buying process. Leaders are so caught up in driving the number, they don’t even question whether or not the current set of deals should even be in the forecast. We stop building future pipeline. The deals we should’ve qualified earlier are not even in the forecast. Then, we’re in a position where we can’t impact the deal as much and we can’t be honest with ourselves - because guess what? The deal is already in the forecast. It becomes a never-ending cycle.
If your teams are repeatedly missing an overall consistency around how they're defining what's qualified and how they’re talking about deals, you've got a clear red flag. When account leaders are saying one thing, the sales team is saying another and leadership has a third language — no one is truly clear on the language they need to be using. Can you truly trust the validity of every deal? Consider how much strain this miscommunication and alignment puts on the forecast and your ability to accurately predict revenue.
Managers Not Equipped To Coach
Many sales organizations haven’t taken the time to effectively equip their managers to coach reps on their deals. Without the right direction from the organization and consistency in the sales process, managers don’t know how to rip deals apart with the intent of coaching the account team to put the deal back together. Don’t minimize the importance of teaching managers how to coach.
Managers are unconsciously competent. They have a tough time communicating “the how” to others. Just telling your rep they need a champion isn’t going to help. Managers are all capable of qualifying deals and mapping out what needs to be done. But not all managers are capable of providing support when it comes to explaining to reps how they can do what needs to be done to move their deals forward. Your managers will provide the most value to their sales teams when they are consciously competent around the "how".
It’s a scary proposition for a lot of sales leaders – taking managers away from helping reps sell to improve their coaching skill set. But, you won’t be able to improve your ability to predict revenue and qualify if you don’t have people who can coach your reps to do it better.
Why Voracious Qualification is Essential to Success
It’s easy to let the ball drop on qualification because it’s one of those sales fundamentals that we may lose sight of when we’re looking at a big opportunity or a large new logo. We’re too close to the deal, but as a sales leader – it is almost impossible to grow or even hit your numbers repeatedly without a voracious qualification process in your organization.
3. Make Sales Negotiations a Process, Not an Event
A defined negotiation strategy is a critical component to an organization preserving margin. Depending on your organization, you may be working on multi-year contracts, which means that the prices you charge now you’ll be dealing with for the next several years. When you’re fighting to close every opportunity, it’s critical you get your organization aligned around what a good deal looks like for your organization. Are you confident you have a widely accepted, formal definition of what determines a great deal for your company? It’s time to get that agreement. Implement a common framework for negotiation across your entire organization to:
- Provide customer-facing teams guidance on the specific interests they are looking to address in negotiated customer agreements
- Help salespeople determine the negotiation strategy needed to manage various gives/gets and reach an agreement consistent with those priorities
- Ensure negotiated agreements reflect where the selling organization is strategically headed (vs. extending priorities and concessions of the past). Examples may include:
- Transforming from on-premise to SaaS solutions
- Selling across the entire portfolio of legacy and newly acquired solutions
- Shift focus to selling services vs. products
- Driving sales/revenue through partners vs. direct
- Moving toward a consumption-based pricing model
Your salespeople are going up against experienced buyers who have interests they need to protect, especially when revenues are tight. They will identify and exploit the lack of alignment across the selling organization to gain advantage and minimize their costs. They are experts at pitting misaligned teams against each other to create leverage. Remember, negotiation is an organizational competency, not just a sales skill.
Share these top negotiation resources with your sales teams to improve their ability to negotiate and sell on value to improve margins consistently.
Lean Into Opportunity
If you're trying to decide how to move forward this year, consider investing in your sales teams and improving their ability to execute. We're working with teams right now who are increasing pipeline and closed-won deals by figuring out the best opportunity to drive revenue recovery and leaning into it.
They're refusing to wait.
Embrace the opportunity that presents itself right now. Many sales leaders don't have the luxury to wait one more day to make the necessary changes in their organizations. Lead from the front. Determine where you can make immediate impact in the short term and set your organization up for success in the long term.
Through virtual and remote sales training we've helped companies achieve their desired results and improve their ability to compete. See how our process makes a difference, and consider how you can lean into your biggest opportunity to achieve your required results.