Time is a salesperson’s greatest ally.
While it’s important to be persistent in following up & responding to objections, you don’t want to waste time on leads that go nowhere. Instead, you should focus on prospects you actually have a shot of doing business with.
But how do you tell the difference between the two? That’s where sales qualification comes in.
You’ve probably heard about every theory of sales qualification out there. But as a sales leader, it’s not just about picking the right qualification method—it’s about getting everyone to implement it consistently.
Now, let’s not sugarcoat things. 40% of sales reps cite qualifying prospecting leads as the hardest part of their job. Getting everyone to row in the same direction is easier said than done.
But achieving consistent sales qualification practices across your entire organization can help you:
- Increase the quality of individual prospects
- Become more efficient in where you direct resources
- More clearly define your ideal buyer, contributing to organization clarity
- Win more revenue faster
Let’s walk through some tips to get your entire team on board with sales qualification.
Top 5 Sales Qualification Questions Your Team Should Ask
The core component of sales qualification is making sure your team is asking the right questions.
Everyone knows about BANT and how effective it is as a qualifying framework. Those four core questions—budget, authority, needs, & timeline—are all important, but they’re missing one core component.
That missing component: resources.
If no one will own implementation of the product on the customer side, then you’re dead in the water.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s walk through the four steps of BANT first, plus this new fifth step, to see how they all fit together.
If a prospect can’t afford your solution, you’re not going to make the sale.
There’s some controversy around the idea of “budget-first” sales. Namely, there’s the idea that if you create enough urgency or need for the product, the prospect will go and find the money to pay for it.
But this only works to a certain extent. For instance, if you sell a six-figure enterprise software solution and you’re talking to a startup, you won’t win their business, no matter how much urgency you create.
In other words, budget alone won’t qualify prospects for you. But it will help you narrow your prospects, allowing you to be more efficient with your time.
Make sure your reps are asking the following questions:
- What is the starting budget and how much wiggle room is there?
- How realistic are their goals for this solution within that budget?
- Do they care more about meeting the budget, or getting a workable and valuable solution?
You shouldn’t waste time talking to someone who, ultimately, has no decision-making power. That’s why it’s important to get an idea of where your contact sits within the organization as early as possible in the sales process.
In fact, we recommend account-based prospecting be a key component of any B2B salesperson’s approach. Click here to read more on this important topic.
Make sure your reps are asking these questions:
- Who in the organization identified the issue and is actively searching for the solution?
- Who in the organization has the power to sign off on a purchase?
- Who are the influencers within the organization who can help move the decision maker along?
Ultimately, you need to find out if your solution actually meets your prospect’s most pressing need. This is the most important, yet most challenging, aspect of sales qualification.
To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In the same way, sales reps can get tunnel vision and think that your solution applies to everyone—which it doesn’t.
So make sure your reps ask the following questions:
- What is the core problem the prospect is looking to solve?
- What prompted them to start actively looking?
- What solution did they use before, and why was it insufficient?
- What drew them to your solution?
- What features are most appealing to them?
If a prospect is looking to buy in two years, that’s not a timeline you can or should work with.
Generally, if a prospect meets the three previous qualifications and is lagging behind on the timeline, it usually means there’s a lack of urgency or enthusiasm. Make sure your reps know how to respond to these types of objections.
Make sure your reps ask the following questions:
- When do they anticipate making a buying decision?
- Do they understand the urgency of the product?
- Are they considering other solutions, and what does the timeline look like on that front?
If your product sells for over $20,000 per year, you’re dealing with sophisticated buyers. That means that your reps aren’t only responsible for getting them to sign on the dotted line, they should also help ensure that the project is successful.
This is in the rep’s (and your) best interests as well. If the project is successful, it means the prospect is more likely to renew!
That’s why it’s important to ensure that the prospect has the resources needed to be successful.
Have your reps ask the following questions to find out if that’s the case:
- Who “owns” the project on the prospect side?
- What other initiatives are competing for their internal time and resources?
- How do you secure resource availability for the project once implementation starts?
Salespeople who are proactive in identifying and securing resources do better in large enterprise sales motions relative to their peers who are reactive about resources.
How to Get Your Team Aligned on Sales Qualification
Having a solid sales qualification process is a good start. But if you want it to actually move the needle, it’s important to get your entire team on board and consistent in applying it:
- Train your team on your qualification methods—and help them see the value in consistency across the organization
- Monitor their performance to see if they’re succeeding at the BANT+R qualification method
- Coach them on the specific selling motions that will help them excel at this method
- Show them the positive revenue impact from that behavior change, which will encourage them to keep moving forward
Coaching intelligence software enables you to see what your reps are doing, surface the most important insights, and step in to help them fix any performance issues and close skill gaps.
Click here to learn more about what coaching intelligence is, and how it can help you make your team better.