The Intention is to “Win More” But “Lose Fast” The Deals That Eventually You Are Going to Lose.
I don’t claim to be an expert of B2B Sales. I am a student of B2B Sales and believe learning is a lifelong pursuit. I have been in B2B Sales throughout my career and have managed various kinds of sales roles from frontline account executive position to KAM position to Sales Manager role to Regional Head to Country Sales head to Running a company which is all about B2B Sales.
There are “Great Sales Professionals” and there are rest. Pareto’s principle ( 80/20) works with Sales Organization also, 20% Sales professionals normally bring >60-70% of the deals. There are certain traits of great sales professionals that differentiate them from the rest. I want to talk about one of the traits in this blog. They respect their time, they respect their colleagues’ time, value their organization resources and above all they remain customer focused.
Great sales professionals know they can’t win all deals; hence they identify their battles well. In Sales world, it is called as “Deal Qualification” Or “Opportunity Qualification”
Let me share my thoughts on “Deal Qualification”
There are methodologies viz BANT, MEDDIC, CHAMP etc. Nothing wrong with any of them. They all help uncover great deal of information that helps in qualifying in/out the deal. I feel a sales professional needs some more information ( and it can be easily available provided sales professional asks those questions) to be almost sure whether he should pursue the deal or qualify it out.
I have created following questionnaire from my experience ( of Wins and Losses ) and have been using it since last few years and its helping me and my team uncover information which helps take a quick call on “Qualifying In or Out” or to find more information before it can be “Qualified In”. Deal Qualification is important for every sales guy and all the more for our sales friends who are in B2B Complex selling, where sales cycle is long, where deal value is high. Sales person’s time is very important and he needs to spend it after right deals. Average Sales people get excited on every opportunity coming their way, Best remain focused on deals that are Qualified. Following questionnaire should also be useful for Entrepreneurs/Business Owners who deal with B2B customers.
Questions you should try asking Customers (either in one call/meeting or during subsequent conversations)
- What are customer’s requirements?
- What is/are the reason/s behind these requirements (i.e. what client wants to improve/fix/avoid)?
- What is Customer’s current infra? (I.e. what is customer’s current solution). Ask more details as appropriate in your respective area – for e.g. No of employees, current Volume, Number of end points supported etc.
- What are the operational issues with Customer’s current solution? (Why is he thinking of moving to a new provider?) Are problems/issues big enough to justify an action?
- Do we have solution fitment? (i.e. Does our potential solution fulfill techno-commercial requirements of the customer?)
- Does this prospect fit into our Ideal Customer Profile?
- Do we have the right resources and know-how internally to deliver the solution?
- Are there any risks/hassles associated with getting a new solution/product from customer perspective?
- By when customer expects to close this deal? By when he expects to have installation in place?
- What are the consequences of not having customer’s ongoing problem/s addressed?
- What are the potential benefits of having customer’s ongoing problem/s addressed?
- What is the significance of these dates? (i.e. what will be the impact if these dates get missed?)
- What is the buying process in customer’s organization?
- Who all will get involved to decide the deal? What is your customer touch point’s profile? How about profile of other decision makers?
- Who will be the main users for this solution? Can I meet/talk to them to get larger perspective? Who is the final approver?
- Is budget approved for this project? If not, by when it will get approved? What is the process to get the budget approved?
- What are the competing options for the customer? What are the strengths/weaknesses for leading competing options from customer’s perspective?
- Product/Technology/Solution fitment Qualification.
- Sales Qualification.
- Resource Level Qualification (i.e. Do you have required resources to work on the deal? At times, all your colleagues/machines/capacity may be occupied and you will need to take a mature call even though it passes thru Product and Sales qualification filters.)
Remember your time is important and you need to work on those deals that are qualified in. You cannot (and should not) work on every deal. I hope above questionnaire helps my fellow B2B Sales friends and Entrepreneurs in winning more deals and help them “lose fast” those deals that they are eventually anyway going to lose.
Please feel free to reach out to me for any clarifications.