If you’re not really crisp about qualifying sales opportunities, you could be missing one or more factors that, alone, could kill your deal before it even gets off the ground (and without you even knowing it’s happened).
Oftentimes, having five of six buying signals or qualification factors isn’t enough. Just one “no” could kill the sale and waste a ton of your time pursuing it.
Here are six specific “no’s” that could cripple or kill your next sale.
No “compelling event”
This is the difference between “nice to have” and “need to have.” The prospect may be excited about what you can do for them, but if you’re one of 47 priorities on their plate, they have no compelling reason to move forward right now. These are the deals that look great, except that they keep getting pushed to the next quarter, and the next quarter, and the next. Identify the compelling event early, or (better yet) target prospects where a specific, proven compelling event or environment already exists.
No business case
Who’s doing the value translation? If you’re expecting the prospect to do it, they may not have taken the time, or have the ability, to make a strong and measurable case for why your product or solution will drive real value for the organization. Have you helped them calculate a potential ROI? Have you helped them tie your representative outcome with other, existing priorities in their group or organization? No business case means no justification and no urgency. That’s a deal killer.
You don’t need to spend the entire sales cycle speaking to the decision maker. But that decision maker had better be identified and engaged early, so that they’re also on board with what you’re doing and the value you will provide. A chatty prospect is not a qualified prospect, and no matter how much someone else likes what you’re selling, if they don’t have the power to buy and move forward, they aren’t going to get your deal done.
This isn’t about identifying existing budget. Budgets for the majority of organizations are squishy anyway. For a big-enough priority, they’ll find the money. But if you don’t ask the budget question early, or at least once you’ve done the value translation and identified (or created) the urgency, you might be faced with the equivalent of an unfunded mandate. And that deal’s not going anywhere either.
How is your buyer or decision maker going to communicate their investment to others? How does the story of your solution fit into the larger story the individual, department or organization is trying to tell? Are you relying on the prospect to write their own story, or are you helping to write it for (and with) them? This is closely tied to business case, but it’s more than numbers. It includes how effectively you can communicate the outcome, the benefits, the advantages of moving forward.
Once the ink is dry, what’s needed to execute? What people, technology, processes and other resources are required to operationalize and launch the product or service? What’s required to convert potential into actual, measurable value? Some prospects will buy without thinking this through, which is a churn problem just waiting to happen. But for others, not clearly understanding the execution path creates enough uncertainty to keep your deal on the side burner indefinitely. Ensure your prospects understand what it takes to be successful. If they aren’t able or willing to make that resource commitment, they either haven’t yet bought off on the value or just aren’t ready for it at this time. In either case, ask the hard question early to identify clearly if you have a real prospect on your hands, or if you should move on.