“Self-Qualifying Prospects?”

07 Jan “Self-Qualifying Prospects?”

Self-Qualifying List for B2B Services:

Wouldn’t it be nice if prospects “qualified” themselves?

That is not as far-fetched an idea as it might seem.  Before I talk about self-qualifying, let’s begin by defining the characteristics of a qualified prospect. In my opinion and experience, the “sales world” is composed of several targeted groups:  suspects, prospects, qualified prospects and clients/customers.  Today I want to focus on qualified prospects.  Prior blogs defined the differences between the four groups, so today let’s focus on the difference between a prospect (someone who needs your product or service) and a qualified prospect (someone who passes the NAMU test below).

A prospect becomes qualified when they demonstrate they have the Need, Authority, Money and Urgency to act now.

Need:

  1. Has a change in our executive staff created an opportunity for improvement?
  2. Is there an opportunity to improve productivity by at least (e.g.: $500K) per year?
  3. Is our product, service, or company as profitable as it could be if we had this vendor’s solution?
  4. Do we have a strategic plan that is actively embraced by our leadership and work groups?
  5. Does this strategic plan necessitate implementation of this vendor’s product or service?
  6. How much more efficient or profitable could we be if we embrace this vendor?

Authority:

  1. Does a decision need to be made to fix the existing problem?
  2. Am I the right person to make this decision or should I be championing this product or service to the boss?

Money:

  1. Can we find the money to implement this product or service?
  2. If we do buy this, what is the expected return on investment now and in the future?

Urgency:

  1. What are the points of pain that require us to act now?
  2. Are we ready to act now or are there dependencies that need to be implemented first?
  3. Does implementing this product or service help us to beat the competition, operate more profitably, and/or increase market share?

A qualified prospect has the need for your product or service, the authority to say yes, the money to acquire it, and urgency to act right now.  Plenty of folks have the need, money and authority, but without the urgency to act right now they are little more than shoppers.

What if there was a way to get prospects to qualify themselves, thus saving you the time and expense of wasting a sales calls on tire kickers? How much more productive could you be if you spent your invaluable time on those who qualified themselves before calling you?  One of the “To-Do” items that my firm intends to accomplish this year is to expand our website this year are qualifying tools for suspects and prospects.

Below is a sample list that you might use to model your marketing materials and web site to help people know that you are the right choice for them.

Sample Qualification List for B2B Service Vendors:

Need:

  1. Has a change in the executive staff created an opportunity for improvement?
  2. Is this a good opportunity for a successful agile/lean solution?
  3. Are we the best choice for this client?
  4. Is there an opportunity to improve productivity by at least $500K per year?
  5. Does the prospect have a profitable product or service?
  6. If not, is this issue that need solving now?
  7. Does the existing executive team recognize the need for an agile/lean solution?
  8. Is there a strategic plan that is actively embraced within the company’s leadership and work groups?
  9. Does this strategic plan necessitate a lean or agile solution?
  10. Does their work processes necessitate teams?

Authority:

  1. Are we talking with the person who has full authority to approve and fund this project?
  2. Who can champion this project to their superiors?
  3. Who can coach me through their formal and informal decision processes?

Money:

  1. Has money been budgeted for this project?
  2. If not, who makes this funding decision?
  3. What is the formal process for funding projects?
  4. How do funding decisions really get made, i.e., what is the informal process?

Urgency:

  1. What are the points of pain that require them to act now?
  2. Are they ready to act now?
  3. What other problems or opportunities may be competition to funding my project?
  4. Who and what are the real competition, and what are the weaknesses in their greatest strengths?
  5. Are there dependencies within the work group, between groups, or between the firm and the external world that must be solved prior to engaging with my firm? If so, what are those dependencies and how can we help to identify solutions?

This is simply a generic list of questions for B2B service vendors.  For your specific portfolio of products and services, what are the qualifying questions that your perfect prospects should be asking themselves?

Peter Busacca

Washington BBI

 

Peter Busacca
Peter is the President of Washington BBI. Peter worked in sales management and strategic marketing in the high tech industry for 16 years and in multi-unit retail for ten years prior. He has directly managed teams ranging from a handful to 100+ employees. Peter has a strong grasp of theory, yet takes a practical, nuts-and-bolts approach to business consulting and brokering. He earned an MBA in 1988 and in 2005 earned a Certified Business Intermediary certification from the International Business Brokers Association.
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