Mastering Sales Qualification

Whatever industry you sell in, the first step is always going to be the same: to qualify your sales leads to determine how good a fit they are (or are not). It can be frustrating to chase after every deal. It’s also ultimately a huge waste of time. It’s much wiser to qualify the prospect upfront and determine if it’s worth the investment of time and resources to take them through your sales process. Doing this will spare you from wasting countless sales cycles chasing bad deals.

The sales qualification process 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 approach. This is a basic sales qualification system. There are eight qualification elements that should be considered for each potential client. If you identify that the client is a fit for most or all of them, then the client is worth entering into the sales funnel and moving forward.

1.    Solution:
• Is there a solution that resolves their issue?
• Can it be matched within your company’s current portfolio?
• Does your solution justify the value? Does it make business sense?

2.    Competition:
• Are you aware of who you are competing against? 

3.    Originality:
• Can you offer something “original” or unique to this potential sale? 

4.    Timescale:
• Are you aware of their timescale?
• Is their timescale reasonable?
• Does it fall within you own sales cycle criteria? 

5.    Size:
• 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? 

6.    Money:
• Is there budget allocated?
• How much is it? Is it approved?
• Is it reasonable? Can you provide a decent solution for that amount? 

7.    Authority:
• 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?

8.    Need:
• 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. Not only will you appear informed, but you will also be able to serve your clients more efficiently by delivering 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—i.e. the more lucrative and/or stronger ones—so you 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 that 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 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, give us a call at Channel Mastered!

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