THE GAPING HOLE IN SALES CYCLES
What is the gaping hole in most sales cycles? That sticky part that slows the sales velocity and has the greatest negative impact on probability of sale and time to close? For the vast majority of sales cycles, that gaping hole is the opportunity qualification process.
Things generally start out well as your sales person gets an appointment with a prospect and is excited about the meeting. They appear to enter the sales cycle smoothly but as soon as it comes to opportunity qualification they hit an often-invisible roadblock that slows the sales process down to a crawl or even derails it.
The failure to clearly understand how to effectively qualify an opportunity and execute that qualification process in live sales cycles invariably results in a protracted, inefficient and painful process for both the sales person and their prospect.
Sales people who effectively qualify opportunities have a far clearer picture of the opportunity and the sales cycle and therefore can be proactive in directing the prospect and managing the sales cycle. Conversely, sales people who do a weak job qualifying have relatively poor visibility into the sales cycle. In this case, they are often relegated to responding reactively to the prospect and often feel like a boat without a rudder being tossed about on the waves of the ocean.
Ironically most sale people cognitively know the right things to do but the breakdown frequently occurs in execution of the concepts. So why does this happen over and over? The struggle to quickly and effectively qualify an opportunity or suffering through a prolonged qualification cycle frequently stems from challenges such as:
– Not understanding your target market
– Not understanding the key elements for qualification
– Not understanding the right questions to ask
– Not having a clear agenda and qualification attack plan
– Not taking control of the conversation
– Not being objective
So what can you do to help your team be more successful during the qualification process?
Know Your Target: Ensure that the sales person clearly understands your company’s sweet spot and the profile attributes of your perfect prospect.
Understand the Qualifiers: Ensure that the sales person clearly understands the key opportunity qualifiers required to qualify an opportunity.
Know the Questions: Ensure that the sales person understands the right questions to ask and how to ask them to effectively qualify an opportunity.
Have a Plan: Ensure that the sales person is prepared for the meeting with a defined objectives and meeting take-away points supported by a corresponding agenda.
Taking Control: Ensure the sales person is prepared to take control of the conversation to effectively guide the prospect though the qualification process.
Be Objective: Ensure that the sales person is objectively separating opportunities between real potential opportunities and the ones they hope they can magically turn into opportunities.
Recognizing the challenges associated with opportunity qualification and helping your sales people overcome them is one the most impactful things you can do as a sales leader. It increases the probability of sale, shortens the sales cycle and accelerate sales velocity.
For more information, please contact Compendium Advisors at Dave@CompendiumAdvisors.com or 925-984-5381
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