Time to sift away unqualified opportunities?

Every sales team should be asking its members this question on a regular basis. If you are working on an unqualified sales opportunity, you are not spending time on a deal you know you could win.

If you pursue an unqualified opportunity and it fails, you have wasted valuable time and money that could have been spent more effectively if you had taken the time to see if it was a deal you could win.

In order to determine how likely a deal is to close, there are eight key questions you should ask:

  1. Has the customer an Identified Project?
  2. Is Access to Funds confirmed?
  3. Do you know the Compelling Event that motivates the customer to buy now?
  4. Are all the Key Players identified?
  5. Do you fully understand the Buyer’s Needs?
  6. What’s our Unique Business Value?
  7. Is there a good Solution Fit?
  8. Do you understand the Formal or Informal Decision Criteria?

In Altify’s 2017 Business Performance Benchmark Study we determined whether the sellers knew how to qualify effectively. Then we explored whether Marketing delivered its share of qualified opportunities.

Three out of 10 of the sellers who participated in the Benchmark Study suggested the sales teams in their organizations were not good at qualification. As these results are from the sellers themselves, this is somewhat concerning. When we asked the same question of their Marketing colleagues only 52 percent of marketers thought that Sales is effective at qualifying sales opportunities.

Benchmark Study: Do you agree with the following in the context of your company?  SALES
Our sales team is effective at qualifying sales opportunities 71%
Our marketing team delivers a reasonable number of qualified sales opportunities  34%

* Business Performance Benchmark Study: Questions and Responses from Sellers

Sales teams are seldom happy with the number or quality of sales opportunities delivered by Marketing. The research also showed that 66 percent of sellers say that Marketing does not deliver a reasonable number of qualified opportunities. 39 percent of marketers agree that their performance in this area is inadequate.

However, even when Marketing delivers a ‘Marketing Qualified Opportunity’, it is still the responsibility of the sellers to qualify further before allocating resources and then they need to continue to qualify consistently throughout the engagement with the prospective customer.

According to the Benchmark Study, sellers who can qualify effectively have improved performance measured by 20 percent Win Rate improvement and a 17 percent shorter Sales Cycle. Combining these two performance levers you can deliver a 45 percent productivity improvement.

A consistent qualification process, according to the TAS methodology, begins with the Four Key Questions:

  • Is there an opportunity?
  • Can we compete?
  • Can we win?
  • Is it worth winning?

and only then involves going into the details and the specifics of the opportunity as necessary.

Sales winners qualify relentlessly, using the qualification process as a platform to build mutual respect and deep relationships with their customers to exceed their goals. Less successful salespeople don’t qualify well, maintain huge bloated pipelines – and close few deals. They also get fired frequently.

Benchmark study: Those who agreed with these statements recorded greaterperformance over those who disagreed with the assertion   

WIN RATE

  

SALES CYCLE

Our sales team is effective at qualifying sales opportunities  +20%  -17%
Our marketing team delivers a reasonable number of qualified sales opportunities  +15%  -15%
  • Business Performance Benchmark Study: Performance Improvement Correlated with Behavior

Will 2018 bring a positive behavioural change to sellers and marketers worldwide, or will we see the same mistakes happening again? To have your say, take part in our 2018 Benchmark Study by clicking here.   

About Donal Daly

Donal Daly

Executive Chairman, Founder, and Author of Amazon #1 Best-seller Account Planning in Salesforce, Donal Daly combines his expertise in enterprise software applications, artificial intelligence, and sales methodology, as he continues to transform how progressive organizations sell. Altify is Donal’s 5th global business enterprise.

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