As party of our journey through the Path to Sales Success one of the most overlooked phases is the qualifying phase. I have seen many entrepreneurs go from prospecting right to proposing.
They then wonder why there has been no progress from their presentation or proposal submission. The mistake is to not understand the customer’s business pain and decision making processes.
Business and Technical Champions Identified and Engaged
A typical sales engagement may involve two champions. The champions will often base their decisions on either a technical or business basis. The business decision could be based on improving quality to increase customer satisfaction or on reducing costs. In each case, they will be deemed as an influencer or decision maker. The decision maker is one that will make the ultimate decision to move forward. The influencers will provide input into the decision and can recommend a solution, but will not be the ones that sign off on the decision.
Current Situation Reviewed
There are questions that need to be asked to determine the pain, business issues, solutions, and competitors they are examining or have in place.
- What is the specific pain or business issues they are facing?
- What are their plans for addressing the business pain?
- What external parties are involved?
Customer Purchasing Decision Understood
This activity step requires collecting information on how the decision is made, what criteria are they using, are funds available, and when would the installation get started.
- How is the decision made?
- What criteria do they use to make a decision?
- Is funding available?
- What is the timing around the decision to buy and install?
- What is the customer expecting as the next step?
Once the details above have been determined then you can move from the qualifying phase to the proposing phase.
Want to read more on the path to sales success?
The Path To Sales Success: Tech Startups
The Path To Sales Success: Prospecting
The Path To Sales Success: Qualifying The Opportunity
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