The Sales Qualification Process
Whatever sales industry you work in, the first step is always going to be the same: to qualify your sales leads to determine how good of a fit they are (or not). It can be frustrating by trying to chase after every deal. Its ultimately a huge waste of time. Its best if you can qualify the prospect up front and determine its worth the investment of time and resources to take them through your sales process. When you do this, you won’t waste countless sales cycles chasing bad deals.
The Sales qualification is the act of evaluating potential prospects to determine whether they possess the basic characteristics that make them a good fit for your specific product or service. Simply put, qualifying a lead or prospect means determining whether they are worth your time. Though this is one of the most important parts of a sales rep’s job, it’s also one of the most difficult. In fact, most sales reps say that qualifying and closing are the most challenging steps of the sales process.
The following is an explanation of the SCOTSMAN. This is a basic sales qualification system. There are eight qualification elements that should be considered for each potential client. If you identify you are a fit for most or all of them, then the client is worth entering the sales funnel and moving forward.
• Is there a solution you can supply and support that resolves their issue?
• Can it be matched within your company’s current portfolio?
• Does your solution justify the value – or does this make business sense?
• Are you aware of who you are competing against?
• Can you offer something ‘original’ or unique to this potential sale?
• Are you aware of their timescale?
• Is their timescale reasonable?
• Does it fall within you own ‘sales cycle’ criteria?
• Is the potential order value worth the effort?
• Is your company large enough to handle it?
• Is the potential client of a size that you would normally deal with?
• Is there a budget allocated?
• How much is it? Is it approved?
• It is reasonable; can you provide a decent solution for that amount?
• Are you speaking to the right person?
• Do they have the authority to make the decision?
• Do you know who else is involved? What are their goals?
• Are you aware of all their needs?
• Can you match them?
After reviewing these questions and deciding they are indeed a qualified lead, customize your response based on the answers to these questions. You will not only appear informed, but you will be able to serve your clients more efficiently by delivering up offers that are truly right for them.
If Done properly, this type of sales qualification is a quick way for you or your staff to determine how to prioritize their efforts, time and energy. It will help you identify the opportunities that should (and deserve to) take up more time – (ex: the more lucrative and/or stronger ones) – so that staff waste less time pursuing leads that are less likely to be closed or to contribute to the company’s overall strategy.
It goes without saying – all sales reps want more qualified prospects. But it’s important not to place a stigma on disqualifying prospects that aren’t in line with your ideal customer profiles. If someone isn’t qualified, you’ll run into problems down the road either way – so it’s best to disqualify as soon as possible and move on. You won’t waste your own time, and you’ll ensure that the prospects you do qualify are exactly who your business is looking to work with.
This will not only allow you to identify potential buyers but will also enable you to identify areas which need converting, to ensure that you achieve the sale. If you want help fine tuning your sales process, then give us a call!
James Kernan has served as a Principal Consultant for Kernan Consulting and provides Coaching, Advising and Mentoring programs to IT business owners and leaders.