In sales, there is a common belief that if you work very, very hard, the results will come. The busier you get, and the more follow-ups you do, the more likely you are to close your opportunities. Hard work gets results, but there is also a much more productive belief: smart work gets results. Opportunity qualification is crucial for an efficient sales process. It involves taking the time to evaluate and analyze potential customers to determine if they are a good fit for your products or services. It allows sales teams to prioritize their efforts, save time and resources, and increase their chances of closing deals. A single flaw in the qualification process can have a serious impact on the organization’s sales forecast, in addition to wasting time, energy and available resources. Qualification is key.
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Knowing the customer is one of the key elements in qualifying a sales opportunity
Make sure you understand the customer’s current situation. Beware of assumptions. We don’t always see things as they are, so it’s best to go and validate.
- Who is your customer? Does he correspond to customer person identified by your company? What role does the person you are currently talking to play?
- What is their buying process? Will they buy directly or do they have to go through their purchasing department?
- Is the person able to understand the language you’ll be using? That is, are they familiar with your jargon? Do they have experience in purchasing products and services similar to yours? Do they need to be educated?
- What is the structure of the customer’s business? What is their revenue level? Their values?
Qualifying opportunities with the BANT approach
The BANT approach is a commonly used framework for qualifying sales opportunities. BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline. This approach consists of evaluating a prospect according to these four criteria to determine if they a good fit for your products or services. We also use this approach at CentrixOne, and if you are a potential client, we will ask you these questions to understand where you stand.
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The importance of qualifying well
Your ability to generate revenue depends on your ability to exchange information with the customer. As the conversation progresses, you provide them with the information they need to make a decision, and they reveal the information you need to move the sales cycle forward. If you don’t take the time to create a connection and ask questions to qualify the opportunity, you risk making false predictions and missing your revenue goals. You also risk focusing your efforts on customers you will never win, such as a customer whose needs don’t match your offering.
Better qualification allows you to be a more credible leader with your customers, and also positively impact your company’s efforts. The key is to give information and ask questions. This is done through a dialogue that builds connection and trust.