Art of Sales Qualification
- 21 Oct
Art of Sales Qualification
The Art of Sales Qualification THE MOST important part of the sales process.
[This info is GOLD] Any great sales process will incorporate a consistently enforced sales qualification criteria. Learn how to ensure that no sales leads fall out of your sales funnel!
Why is qualification so important?
Good sales qualification will remove a whole lot of wasted time, effort, money and planning.
Sales qualification is not only important to the seller; it’s just as important to the buyer.
Value to the buyer:
• It optimises the use of the buyer’s time and also their resources
• It helps the buyer to define the problem they are trying to solve
• It helps the buyer to identify a solution is best for ‘their’ organisation
• It helps the buyer secure executive buy-in for funding the solution.
Value to the seller:
• It optimises the focus and use of your time
• It ensures that all of your activities are focused on the sale
• It exposes problems within the sales opportunity
• It provides clarity for next steps and actions
• It eliminates any element of surprise during the sale process
• It allows your business to forecast sales and plan resources.
Sales Qualification is a series of steps that naturally fall within certain tasks of your sales process or framework.
If you or the company you work for DOES NOT have a sales process or framework in place, please refer to our article “Creating a Successful Sales Team from Scratch.” This guide provides you with detailed steps to creating a powerful sales framework. Download our How-To-Guide [DOWNLOAD GUIDE]
This “Art of Sales Qualification” document covers the following five steps:
• Step One – Understand your brand sales strategy
• Step Two - Understand the marketing campaigns which will drive marketing qualified leads (MQL)
• Step Three – Develop your phone qualification checklist (initial qualification stage)
• Step Four – Plan your meeting qualification process
• Step Five – Training, coaching & mentoring to build a sustainable sales pipeline.
DOWNLOAD THE WHITEPAPER: A detailed breakdown of these sales qualification steps plus an explanation of each is available within whitepaper download (too much information for the blog). [DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER HERE]
Marketing builds sales leads
Your Brand Sales Strategy and Plan would be the most important piece of work you will undertake outside how you manage the financials of your business. Without spending the time to create this, we guarantee that you will waste a LOT of time and money trying to generate very low-quality leads (noise).
BEFORE you start wasting time and money on sales campaigns or advertising, you MUST start with a brand sales and marketing strategy
What's the difference between a Brand Strategy and a Plan?
Strategy is about understanding the environment, and making choices about your offer and how your relay this to your customers.
Planning is about making choices about the actions and also use of resources available to achieve the decisions made within your strategy (the tactical part).
How to get started!
1. Build your Brand Strategy and Plan.
Download a copy of the rev™ 10-Step Brand Sales Strategy Development Guide [DOWNLOAD HERE]
2. Build a Sales Strategy.
Download a copy of the rev™Killer Sales Strategy Template [DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE]
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) v Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
In today’s digital sales environment, we have a bunch of tools that allow us to more easily and efficiently generate leads. But how do you measure the quality of these leads?
To be able to measure this, it’s important that you understand the difference between MQL and SQL.
The MQL is a lead who likely isn’t ready to buy, but they will respond to being nurtured through a range of educational nurturing programs (your sales funnel).
Further into the sales funnel, you will find an SQL, they are naturally more advanced down the educational nurturing process. These “leads” are more acceptable to some one-on-one time with your sales department.
Once the SQLs come out of the digital sales funnel, your sales team need to be trained, be armed with the right sales tools, and also have a clear and defined sales engagement process and framework in order to qualify these correctly.
Phone qualification (initial contact)
The first contact with the prospect is the most important of all sales stages.
It’s this contact that leaves the strongest impression on both parties, and can often be the deciding factor on whether you will do business or not (The attitude, skills, connection, and even feel of their offer).
Your phone qualification should be taken very seriously as it acts as the gateway to the rest of the sales process. If you feel that the prospect qualifies as a SQL and should be engaged more, you do. If you don’t feel they match your sales qualifying conditions, then they go back into the communications bucket as an MQL for further nurturing.
Create a Sales Qualification Questionnaire (or checklist) which can be used by your sales team to help identify the stage of this lead and the size of the opportunity.
IMPORTANT: this questionnaire will vary depending on the solution, industry, prospect type, etc. DO NOT build one size to fit all situations – it WILL fail.
Questionnaire example questions
(A full list is available in the whitepaper download).
Setting the scene
• What brings your enquiry to use?
• Tell me a bit about your company size and operations?
• I need to ask a few questions to better understand your needs
• We have a few different products, may I get some more information to help me ensure we are choosing the right solution for you?
Discovery “What” Questions
• What are the main issues you’re facing in order of importance?
• What are your goals or requirements?
• What is the reason you started to look for a solution?
Discovery “Why” Questions
• Why is this important to you or the business?
• Why are you feeling these issues or problems?
• Why did you come to our company for help?
Discovery “When” Questions
• When did you start seeing these issues?
• When did the business say “we need to solve this”?
• When was the time that forced you to solve this issue?
• When did you start looking for something to help?
Discovery “Who” Questions
• Who is impacted by this in the business?
• Who needs to be involved in the solution design process?
• Who is involved in the purchase or decision process?
Discovery “How” Questions
• How will you see this benefiting the business?
• How much do you think this would cost?
• How will this change impact the current way you operate?
• What functions do you expect to see in the solutions?
• How will these functions benefit the business?
• What the must haves v nice to haves?
• Who makes the decision on the purchase?
• What are the timeframes for the decision, purchase and implementation?
• What is the purchase process?
PLEASE NOTE: We have only included three points for each of the above. For a detailed list of these points and an explanation of each, please download the whitepaper. [DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER HERE]
You won’t answer every question from the one call.
The above needs to be built to suit your business sales needs and what you feel are important qualification questions. It’s this final version that you use to gain as much information as possible – perhaps even over a few calls.
Use open-ended questions within conversations.
Open-ended questions require the customer to think before they respond. This means that you will receive quality information that will help you determine their specific needs and wants. These types of questions also actively engage the customer. They will begin to feel more comfortable with you because they are actually participating in the buying/selling process and feel that you are genuinely interested.
Meeting qualification (one-on-one engagement)
Qualifying is gathering insights necessary to make a good judgement on the prospect and the opportunity.
Should you sell to this prospect? What is the best course of action to close a deal? Is this prospect a good fit for your offer? Is it a viable, ongoing sales relationship? Are they fishing for just price comparison?
Only after you've qualified someone can you really know whether it's worth to invest your time and effort into trying to sell to this prospect.
The most common mistake in sales is where salespeople spend the majority of their time talking to the wrong people. If you are currently doing that, then you will know that it doesn’t matter how eloquently you present your service or product, the chances of making a sale will be extremely low.
There are a number of Sales Frameworks that have been designed by sales professionals over the years.
The following version called BANT is a qualifying framework that will show you how to correctly qualify your prospect.
BANT is used at a variety of companies and in a variety of markets.
BANT seeks to uncover the following four pieces of information:
Budget - Is the prospect capable of buying?
Authority - Does your contact have adequate authority to sign off on a purchase?
Need - Does the prospect have a business pain you can solve?
Timeline - When is the prospect planning to buy?
Build your BANT Sales Qualification Framework
BANT provides you with the framework that allows you to develop your one-on-one meeting sales qualification checklist. You will need to tailor the questions around your industry, type of customer and problem/solution.
NOTES ON BANT: How to build your BRANT process plus the details within each step is available within the whitepaper download (too much detail for the blog). [DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER HERE]
IMPORTANT: Don’t be shy to cut a sales opportunity loose, even if you are down the sales path. Sometimes it’s best to hold integrity in the eyes of the customer than sell them something that does not suit their needs.
TIPS THAT HELP: identify your customer’s problems clearly and sell them on value and not price.
Build out and understand the benefits of your solution and be very aware of the alternatives (SWOT Analysis).
If you can’t sell to this prospect, we guarantee that there are many others who operate within the same industry segment who are also facing the same challenge. Package up the solution which you have spent the time to build, and sell it to their competitors.
How NOT to qualify
• Stop talking and listen to the client
• Don’t get over-excited, breathe and relax
• Do not rapid fire questions to the client; it’s not an interrogation session
• Don’t speak down about your competitors
• Don’t make false or over-exaggerated claims about your offer
• Engage professionally. No need to crude remarks and jokes
• Sales are based on relationships – learn how to create rapport.
Use Training, Coaching, and Mentoring like Oxygen
Ensure that you have the best training available to your sales team bit now, and also continued over time.
• Sales Training – how to sell!
• Product Training – your products and services
• Systems / Process Training – the tools you use as part of your internal sales process
• Sales Coaching & Mentoring Programs - This service, which is usually provided by subject matter experts, extends your product or functional training with advice, guidance, and most importantly, the strategy. It’s this total combination that builds self-confidence within sales staff and turns sales into business development.
[CLICK HERE] to learn more about sales team coaching and mentoring.
Download the Art to Qualification Whitepaper
There is way too much information to have on this blog article so we've made a comprehensive whitepaper download available.
DOWNLOAD the rev™ The Art of Sales Qualification. We packed all this great information PLUS a heap of detailed notes on each section within a free downloadable whitepaper.
*Make sure you grab copy of document. This is one of the BEST tools we have created for salespeople...
(The document gets Emailed RIGHT to your inbox...)
Recommended articles based upon this topic;
How to Generate Business Using LinkedIn
Building An Automated Sales Lead Generation Tool
Developing a KILLER Sales Strategy
How to Create a Successful Sales team from Scratch
Implementing a Sales Process & Framework
Sales Coaching & Mentoring Programs
Digital Marketing Turns Events into Interactive Experiences
How to Grow Your Business
How to BOOST Sluggish Sales Results
Marketing your Business on a Shoestring Budget
DIFM Social Media & Digital Marketing Services
Digital Marketing How-To Guide
Achieving Start-Up Business Success
Keywords: Sales Leadership, Sales Qualification, Sales Presentation, Cold Calling, Sales Process, Sales Framework, BANT, Sales Coaching, Sales Mentoring, Sales Training, Sales, Business Development, Account Management, Training, Change Management, Coaching Courses, Life Coaching, Mentoring Programs, Business Coaching, Sales Techniques, Mentor, Sales Management, Sales Strategy, MQL, SQL, Lead Generation, Lead Qualification, Sales Pipeline