A consistent question that comes up in sales coaching is how to qualify a sales opportunity. The problem for the sales executive is to be objective – it’s way too easy to let your happy ears run riot and believe this is the one when there’s a fundamental problem waiting to bite you.
So what is a simple, objective, consistent way of evaluating a sales opportunity?
Most companies have their own frameworks that vary in complexity. But sometimes having your own, simple sales qualification method is a good thing.
A good sales qualification tool will also point up what you need to be doing next to improve your opportunity’s chances of success.
Four factors to consider
Basically there are four questions you need to answer to judge any sales opportunity. They are:
Is there an opportunity?
This prospect may well be saying all the right things, but realistically are they in a position to buy? That involves thinking about:
- Their organisation’s profile and financial position?
- Is budget allocated or can it be made available?
- Is there a ‘compelling event’ that will drive them to proceed?
Can we compete?
Are we in a position that can realistically be developed to the point the customer will buy? That involves thinking about:
- What do we know about their formal decision making processes?
- How good – broad and deep – are our relationships?
- Do we really understand their problem sufficiently to be able to create a compelling value proposition?
- How much of our company’s resource do we need to devote to this sales opportunity, and are those resources available to us?
Can we win?
We may have a great offer, but so do our competitors. What chances do we have of actually winning? That involves thinking about a number of softer issues:
- Do we have an inside coach who’ll help us?
- Do we have access to executives who’ll ultimately have to give their approval?
- How well do we work with the customer?
- Do we understand the politics going on inside the customer’s organisation?
- Have we got a handle on some of the less rational but important factors that will influence any final decision?
Is it worth winning?
If we get the right decision, is it good for our company? That involves thinking about:
- Revenue both short and long term?
- The degree of risk that will need be managed?
- How this fits strategically with where we’re going?
To simplify this for our clients, we’ve created a spreadsheet you can download.
- It asks 20 questions about an opportunity, where the answer is a score between one and ten.
- It’s then colour coded for you to see at a glance the weaknesses of any sales opportunity.
- And then it prompts you to think about an action you could take to strengthen your position.
- All in one easy to use, single page Excel spreadsheet.
- Want a copy of the spreadsheet to help you? You can download a copy free from our member’s area. All you have to do is Register for our free Sales Club. Once registered, you can download many free sales resources to help you succeed.
- Find out how we can help you get a more accurate sales forecast and pipeline through objective sales qualification.
- Find out about our new training course Sales Pipeline Management.
How can I help coach you?
- Need help qualifying your sales opportunities?
- Win rate not high enough?
- Need to convince people in your company to allocate resource to your sales opportunity?
- Trying to decide which opportunity to progress when you haven’t the time to go after them all?
Here’s what to do next
If you’re interested in how this could help you, or feel I may be able to help you with some of the challenges you’re facing, please get in touch for an informal discussion.
There’s no commitment, we’ll just discuss your situation to see if working together might be a good fit. Contact me now.