Why Qualification is the Key to Sales Success

sales successToday's buyer-empowered, uber-competitive selling environment requires sellers to be much better at qualifying opportunities than they have ever been in the past.

Why? Because buyers have ready access to the product information they believe they need to make a buying decision. When sellers arrive they, the buyers, are ready to close the sale by negotiating the best price.

Sound familiar? So if qualifying is so critical, doesn't it make sense that sales organizations clearly and precisely define a standard set of client information objectives that determine when an opportunity is well qualified?

Without this information, sellers resemble Alice in Wonderland: If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. How can you get “there ” when you don't know where “it” is? How can an opportunity be well qualified when well qualified hasn't been defined?

What Sellers Need to Know

Shouldn't sellers know:
  • What truly motivates buyers to buy?
  • The amount of business impact products and services can have in helping them reach specific objectives, not just the product's features and benefits? (After all, what motivates the buyer helps the seller protect their selling margins and increase their average value order.)
  • The relationships that exist inside and outside of the buyer's organization that will influence the buying decision?
  • If the buyer has made this type of buying decision before, and if so, what criteria they used to make the decision?
  • The criteria the buyer will use to determine which solution is best amongst the available options?
  • What the buyer has in place today, their perception of performance, and the company that is providing it?
  • If the buyer is favoring one solution over another and why?
  • What the buyer will need to see to make the final decision and when they will need to see it (allowing the buyer and the seller to use their time most efficiently)?

You get the idea.

Information defines opportunity. The better the information, the better chance sellers have to demonstrate how their products and services provide the business impact buyers desire and are the ones the buyers want to buy. Sellers will know precisely why they won, or lost each deal.

Measuring Quality & Quantity

If winning more business with higher average order values while protecting margins isn't enough to motivate sales leaders to define information objectives, there's more.

Once information objectives are clearly defined, managers can assess not only the quantity, but also, more importantly, the quality of the information gathered.

This will help them calibrate the sales forecast and make it more accurate. No longer will sales forecasts be based on each seller's perception of sale probability based on their experience in similar selling situations. Sales forecasts can now be objectively and systemically based on the quantity and quality of the information gathered compared to a standard requirement.

This is a huge benefit. According to the CSO Sales Management Optimization Study, sales organizations that measure and pay their sales managers on forecasting accuracy win considerably more deals and have more sellers making quota than those that don't.

Consider the following results from the study:

Importance of Forecasting Accuracy Measured & Paid On Only Measured Not Considered
% of Forecast Deals Won 50.5% 46.1% 41.2%
% of Sellers Making Quota 69.7% 56.1% 50.2%


This is why it's incredibly important that your organization have a standard set of information objectives. This will help your sellers close significantly more deals at higher margins, leading to overall sales success.

Get the Data Driven Sales Learning paper from Axiom www.axiomsfd.com

Suzanne Franks

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Topics: Better Opportunities, Better Selling

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