Qualifying Your Pipeline
Updated: Jan 21
Lasting sales success is only possible when you effectively, and thoroughly, qualify the deals you are working on.
The key take away is that it’s virtually impossible for a B2B salesperson to effectively qualify deals when they are suffering from a dry pipeline.
When your pipeline is dry it is likely you will lower your qualification standards.
And when you lower your qualification standards you will become overly hopeful, overly optimistic and you will falsely believe that some deals that are not qualified will close.
You feel a false sense of security and ignore the signs that are red flags while you simultaneously elevate the significance of rudimentary activities such as; “they agreed to meet with me”.
Here’s the good news:
When you have 3X the number of deals in your pipeline that you need to hit your number in any given month you will think clearly and you will be breathing real air.
You will happily deselect the deals that are unqualified, you will invest your time in the activities that move the needle on sales and you will feel unstoppable. Now selling becomes exhilarating.
Here are 9 telltale signs that a prospect is with you, that the sales opportunity is indeed “qualified” and therefore worthy of your time and company resources:
There is some trigger event that is forcing the prospect to buy. Things such as 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 or service is in the budget
Your contact is either the final decision maker or they are an influencer who is “respected” within the company and their opinion is held in high regard
They answer your questions openly and honestly
They give you the documents and data you need to put a solution together
They introduce you to other stakeholders within the organization
They promptly return your phone calls and emails
They tell you who your competition is and where you both stand in the process
They tell you what their decision-making process is, time frame, and what their decision criteria is.
It’s tough to remove deals from your pipeline. It takes grit.
It’s natural for you to want your pipeline to look full to impress your sales manager and to reduce your worry and anxiety.
However, your worry, anxiety, and the respect you get from your superiors will all take a dip if you are stuffing poorly qualified deals into your pipeline.
2021 offers you a great opportunity to take your qualification process up to a new level. Commit to asking all the key qualifying questions in the front end of your sales process and be honest with yourself when it comes to whether or not the person you are meeting with is actually the final decision-maker.
As you purge your pipeline it will certainly take a hit. But, as you continue to take your prospecting efforts and qualification standards up a notch it is guaranteed your selling success will go up right along with them.
Not only will your confidence soar, you will get the positive recognition and respect that you deserve. (And the increased income doesn’t hurt either!)