“Measure the progress of your deals based on your customer’s actions, reactions and perceptions. Not your actions.” -Venkataraman Subramanian, Founder and CEO, Tripura Multinational
The success of a sales organization depends largely on its ability to identify and pursue high-quality opportunities. In today’s fast-paced business environment, however, the sheer volume of potential deals can make it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is where deal qualification comes in. By thoroughly evaluating potential opportunities, sales teams can focus their efforts on the most promising deals, thereby maximizing their chances of success. In the world of sales, mastering the art and science of deal qualification can be a game-changer in achieving and exceeding quotas. While the science of qualification has been extensively studied and analyzed, the art and discipline of deal qualification still require refinement. Deal qualification is an art and very often we miss the strategies that help in identifying high-quality opportunities in sales.
What is Deal Qualification?
At its core, qualification in sales is the process of evaluating potential sales opportunities to determine whether they are worth pursuing. This involves gathering information about the prospect, understanding their needs and pain points, and assessing the likelihood of closing the deal. By qualifying deals in this way, sales teams can avoid wasting time and resources on opportunities that are unlikely to yield results.
The Importance of Deal Qualification
Deal qualification is a critical component of sales success for several reasons. First and foremost, it enables sales teams to focus their efforts on opportunities that are most likely to result in closed deals. This not only saves time and resources but also improves the overall success rate of the sales organization.
In addition, deal qualification helps sales teams to avoid the pitfalls of “hope casting” – that is, pursuing opportunities based on a vague sense of potential rather than a clear understanding of the prospect’s needs and priorities. By thoroughly evaluating each opportunity, sales teams can ensure that they are pursuing deals that align with the prospect’s goals and are likely to lead to successful forecasting of sales opportunities.
For those in the B2B sales world, the drive to make customers more successful is likely a core motivator. However, current circumstances make it increasingly difficult for sellers to engage with customers and improve their chances of success. If you believe that your abilities exceed your current performance, a practitioner driven online course explores the delights and disciplines of B2B sales deal qualification, helping you bridge the gap between your current sales achievements and aspirations.
Strategies for Effective Deal Qualification
When studying the practices of top-performing salespeople, Sales Expert Venkataraman Subramanyan shares some effective strategies for effective deal qualification that set them apart. These individuals boast impressive success rates, regularly closing one or two deals and exuding an air of extreme confidence. What sets them apart is their ability to exercise deal control by delving into the necessary depth and detail.
The first element that these exceptional salespeople exhibit is a focus on criteria. They understand the specific criteria that customers use to make their decisions, going beyond simply identifying stakeholders. This in-depth understanding enables them to tailor their approach to meet customer needs.
The second element is creating consensus. These salespeople work to get all decision-makers to agree upon specific criteria that align with the organization’s goals. By driving consensus, they’re able to ensure that all parties are on board with the decision, leading to a smoother sales process.
The third element is a focus on politics. These salespeople don’t just understand the customer’s politics; they engage in constructive politics to build their power base and serve each of their customer stakeholders. This approach creates emotional bank accounts that pay off in the long run.
Lastly, top-performing salespeople understand their competition’s strategy to win the account. They have a counter-strategy in place and can identify potential obstacles that may arise.
Next time you’re considering how to exercise deal control, remember the basics of process, timing, and stakeholders, but also consider the multipliers of criteria, consensus, politics, and competition strategy. These elements can help you stand out as a top-performing salesperson.
There are several strategies that sales teams can use to improve their deal qualification process and identify high-quality opportunities. Here are some key tactics to consider:
-Establish Clear Qualification Criteria
The first step in effective qualification in sales is to establish clear criteria for evaluating potential opportunities. This might include factors such as the prospect’s budget, timeline, decision-making process, and pain points. By establishing these criteria upfront, sales teams can quickly assess whether a given opportunity is worth pursuing.
-Use a Sales Qualification Framework
One effective way to structure the sales qualification process is to use a sales qualification framework. These frameworks typically involve a set of questions or criteria that sales professionals can use to evaluate each opportunity.
During a conversation with a regional sales leader at one of the largest software companies, it became clear that they possessed a wealth of knowledge but were struggling to see the desired results. Sales Expert Venkataraman Subramanyan began discussing the principles that could help the leader turn their aspirations into tangible outcomes. And that’s how VIBGYOR Framework, our deal qualification framework, was born. Our trademarked deal qualification framework has filtered over $3 billion worth of opportunities for clients across the globe, and we believe it can empower you too. This framework is designed to help you qualify, grow, and accelerate your opportunities towards closure, resulting in significant improvements to your win rate and forecast accuracy. By implementing VIBGYOR, your team can shift away from a transactional approach to run rate business and instead, secure complex deals in matrix organizations.
Consider the colours of the rainbow the next time you engage with customers and contemplate how each component could be utilized to enhance your success. With conviction, we affirm that this model is highly effective, as evidenced by its acquisition and integration into numerous organizations worldwide.
-Conduct Thorough Research
Thorough research is a critical component of effective deal qualification. Sales reps should take the time to gather information about the prospect’s industry, competition, and pain points. This information can help them to tailor their approach and messaging to the prospect’s specific needs.
-Ask the Right Questions
Effective deal qualification involves asking the right questions to understand the prospect’s needs and priorities. Sales reps should focus on asking open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to share their goals and pain points. This can help the rep to tailor their approach and messaging to the prospect’s specific needs.
Examples of a few questions:
-What are your top priorities for the coming year?
-What challenges are you currently facing in your business?
-Can you tell me more about your decision-making process for purchases like this?
-What is your timeline for making a decision on this purchase?
-What are the consequences of not addressing this issue?
-According to research by Gong.io, sales conversations that included at least 11-14 discovery or qualification questions were more likely to result in a closed deal.
-Collaborate with Other Departments
Effective deal qualification often requires collaboration across different departments within the organization. For example, marketing can provide insights into the prospect’s behavior and interests, while finance can help to evaluate the financial viability of the deal. By working together, these departments can provide a more comprehensive understanding of each opportunity.
-Use Technology to Streamline the Process
Finally, sales teams can use technology to streamline the deal qualification process. For example, CRM software can help to automate the collection and analysis of prospect data, while sales intelligence tools can provide insights into the prospect’s behavior and interests.
Deal qualification is a critical component of sales success. By thoroughly evaluating potential opportunities, sales teams can focus their efforts on the most promising deals and maximize their chances of success. In sales, time is money. Therefore, it’s crucial to focus efforts on high-quality deals. To address this challenge of qualifying better, we are pleased to offer a self-paced online course designed to guide sales professionals in the process of qualifying, growing, and accelerating opportunities towards closure. By leveraging the course’s insights and techniques, participants can significantly improve their win rates and forecast accuracy, ultimately leading to greater success in their sales careers.
Identifying the right opportunities can make a significant difference in the success of a salesperson and their organization. Our years of experience in deal qualification gives us some expertise in the field of creating unique frameworks so if you need to qualify better, do reach out to us. Also, do check out our special course on Deal Qualification for more winning deals.