Is This Deal Really Qualified?
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
The first dynamic you must understand when it comes to effectively qualifying deals is that the act of qualification and maintaining a full pipeline are inseparable entities. They are joined at the hip and both must be healthy. In other words, it is virtually impossible for a salesperson to effectively qualify deals when they are suffering from a dry pipeline.
Because when your pipeline is dry, salespeople get desperate.
When they’re desperate (and there are varying degrees of desperation) they become overly hopeful, falsely believing that some deals, the ones that really don’t stand a chance of closing, will close.
They slip into denial and ignore the red flags while simultaneously elevating the importance of rudimentary activities such as, “They agreed to meet with me!”
Let’s call it false optimism.
By contrast, what top producers do is keep their pipelines full and consistently monitor prospects -- with up to 3 times the number of deals that they need to hit their monthly numbers. This allows them to deselect or “weed out” the deals that are unqualified. In turn, they invest their time in the activities that actually move the needle on sales. As they close deals, selling becomes an absolute blast because deals are closing.
Back to qualification though. Here are 9 telltale signs that a prospect is “qualified” -- meaning they are in step with your salespeople and worth of further time and company resources:
There is some trigger event that is forcing the prospect to buy. Things like they are relocating, productivity is suffering, morale is terrible, a competitor is gaining ground, they are rebranding, they are taking a new product to market, they are going into a new market space. (These are also referred to as “Business Drivers” and “Compelling Reasons to Buy”.)
The money to purchase your product is in the budget.
The contact is either the final decision maker or they are an influencer who is respected enough within the company that their opinion could translate into a sale.
They answer questions openly and honestly.
They give the documents and data needed to put a solution together.
They introduce your salesperson to other stakeholders within the organization.
They promptly return phone calls and emails.
They tell your salesperson who their competition is and where you both stand in the process.
They tell you what their decision-making process is, the time frame and what their decision criteria is.
If your prospects don’t meet these criteria, they are poorly qualified, and it’s time to remove them from the pipeline.
That’s a hard thing to do, but it’s necessary. Keeping unqualified deals in your pipeline is like paying your mortgage or rent on a credit card. Things look okay for awhile, but, at some point, it all catches up with you.
Could your pipeline use an overhaul? Is your team struggling with seemingly good prospects that lead nowhere? Give us a call to discuss.