Working at the coal-face with clients has recently highlighted two significant deficits:
• Opportunity qualification is only done internally and lacks customer involvement
• Sales processes that at best get you to position 2 or 3 but are not good enough to win
There are a few tips and tricks to eliminate these deficits but first and foremost you need a “Qualify Out or Win” mindset.
Why mindset is critical
The amount of effort required to win or lose is more or less the same and both have increased significantly. Customers need to justify their decision by comparing alternatives, in one of our own recent opportunities the potential customer evaluated 12 vendors. In a large deal we might have to invest 25-30 days so it is crucial to get out of it as early as possible or win.
Get out as early as possible…
Most companies have a fairly robust set of opportunity qualification criteria but they lack a best practice of asking the customer probing questions to validate them. It is perfectly legitimate to ask the customer for an interview to discuss your qualification criteria and to disengage if the answers prove this to be necessary.
Once you have decided to pursue an opportunity, how do you know that your sales process is good enough to win? In my opinion, you have to do 5 things you have never done before. This benchmark might sound a bit extreme but it certainly gets sales professionals and opportunity teams out of their comfort zone and drives them to think about potential game changers.
Please comment if you don’t agree or would like to share your viewpoint.