Qualify Harder for Quality Sales in 2012


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In a tough economy sales professionals need to double down on their process and qualify sales deals even harder than usual. Making sure there’s a deal to be won, and a way to win it could be how the business makes it through to happier times.

By all accounts 2012 is going to be a very tough year. Governments, businesses and consumers are all expected to cut back on spending. Employers will be focused more on risk than reward. Profit will be the name of the game and only the strongest will survive.

Times like this are very dangerous for sales professionals. Perversely, when the going gets tough businesses would rather retain the accountants to add up the expenses than hold on to the guys who hunt down revenue.

The sales team needs to, and can, make a contribution to the cause. In fact the sales people are the most important members of the corporate team. When times get tough the tough get going, as they say. This is an ideal time to push back on the bureaucracy. Those pen pushers want to keep their jobs too. Sales can be their saviour.

The guys talking to prospects know more about ways their business can be more competitive. They need to take the messages from the market back to the office. Get marketing focused on what customers are buying. Get Customer Service more responsive. Get the CEO and bean counters to understand lower margins are preferable to lower revenues.

There’s another contribution the sales team can make. It’s probably more important. It’ll make more of a difference. It’ll transform the zeros into heros.

Reduce the Cost of Sales.

The biggest waste of money in any business is the prospect who doesn’t buy. When times are good nobody adds up the cost of chasing opportunities. When money gets tight the sales guys who waste it on deals that aren’t going to happen take on a different persona. No longer are they fearless hunters. They become a drain on scarce resources.

Qualifying deals is no longer a theoretical exercise. Qualifying deals is a responsibility. Making sure the prospect consuming your cost of sale budget will buy “something” becomes due diligence. Making sure that prospect will by “something from you” is the biggest contribution the sales professionals can make. Every time a sales guy chases a deal without knowing why the prospect is interested, how s/he’ll make a decision and where the money to pay for it will come from, it’s a waste.

When the sales team accept the responsibility for what are ultimately investment decisions two things happen. More deals are won, at better prices and margins, and the sales people are better recognised for their contribution.

Harder qualification focuses the businesses, reduces the costs of sales and wins more deals. More people get to keep their jobs and sales professionals are recognised for their contribution.

In 2012 will you commit to spending less of your scarce resource chasing deals you aren’t going to win?

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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