The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Best Practices for Driving a Qualification Process

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Are your sales reps missing their numbers this year? Qualification may have something to do with it. John Kaplan talks through best practices for driving a qualification process that works for your sales team.

Hi, I'm Rachel Clad Miller withforce management. Welcome to our podcast. It's been a while since we postedposted one, for no reason other than that we've just been busy, butwe're excited to bring you this one today. John Kaplan joining me today to talkqualification. Great topic and you're right, it has been a little while.It's really happy to be back. So this is a great topic totalk about here at the end of the year as people trying to hit thoseyearly numbers. Some of you listening maybe just wondering where it all went wrong. Hopefully a lot of your celebrating, but if if you're struggling, theanswer can often be found in focus and qualification. Yeah, I think thatqualification is such an awesome topic right now, especially the time of the year thatwe're up, that we find ourselves in. But sales leaders and teamsare often too focused on the short term and the current forecast. So Ifind sales organizations are having qualification conversations, you know, too late in thequarter and too late in the buying process. So you know, we're caught upand driving the number. We don't...

...even ask the question whether or notthis is a deal that should actually be in the forecast. So you know, the challenge is we stopped building future pipeline and the deals we should havequalified earlier are not even in the forecast. So it becomes this never ending cycleof just looking at the forecast. Yeah, and a lot of thatgoing on right now, especially if you're on a normal fiscal year. Andwe have to talk about if you have this problem in one deal, likeyou're trying to discount, you're just trying to get in, it creates oneproblem. You have a deal problem, but when you have this problem happeningover and over again across your sales team, that's a consistent problem and you can'tdepend on the number and there's some serious negative consequences in that. Yeah, I think, I think you're right. I mean, if it's if it'sif it's qualification on one opportunity versus multiple opportunities on your team, whichis more accurate for what I see now. You know, I really believe this. You know, if you can't...

...be counted on to accurately predict yournumber, you're at risk, whether you're a salesmanager or whether you're a rap. If you can't be counted on to accurately predict your number, your risk. I don't have any softer way to say right. So how do youcoach against that? How do you how do you coach against having that challenge? Well, you know, a lot of times I look at, youknow, opportunities that people ask me to review and I look at some ofthe things that we're either willing or unwilling to do on an opportunity in itit always is tied to pipeline. So I say that pipeline cures all illsand when I really look at it, what we're willing to do or unwillingto do a lot of times is a measure of our pipeline. So ifthat's the case, why don't we just encourage all of our managers and allof our managers listening right now, all of our sales people listening right now, at the beginning of years, you...

...need to create something called the franchiseplan, which is really a territory plan focused on the plan, to makethe plan and you and I've a talked about this before. It's probably somethingwe should, you know, follow upon for another podcast. But you know, basically the message is encouraging sellers to look at the business as if itwere their business and then, you know, having the ability to predict and understandwhere the revenue is coming from as if it were your business. It'sincredibly, incredibly important. Yeah, I think we do have a white paper. All right, you book on the website called establishing the franchise mindset.So if you go to force Managementcom come and you click on sales insight resources, you'll find it there. That's a good one. And then also we'llbe talking about establishing that franchise mindset and upcoming podcast. So subscribe so wecan do a deeper dive and that, as you said, it's important aswe try to hit those those yearly numbers. Yeah, because as we're talking aboutit, we're focusing on opportunity these...

...and really our strength or lack ofstrength on opportunities is related to our ability to differentiate versus our pipeline. Soagain, I can't stress enough when I'm looking at opportunities, what we're willingor not willing to do is always related to what kind of pipeline we have. We're always bolder, we're always tougher, we're always more of a voracious qualifierwhen we've got a better pipeline. So let's dive into a little bitmore on actually qualifying those deals. We talk a lot about essential questions.I am writing about essential questions on the blog consistently when it comes to avarious areas of sales, affectiveness qualification no different. So let's talk about thoseessential questions that you need to be asking yourself on every deal. Yeah,the top level, I think it's you know, I know will probably diginto, you know, medic and met pick a little bit here, butat the top level, very simply, you know, we should ask ourselveskind of three essential ones to get started.

Do we even belong in this deal? Where is the deal strong for us? Where is it weak,and for what reasons is it week? And what actions will move the dealforward more efficiently and effectively? Those are really good kind of top level qualificationsthat you can look at and that's good for reps to remember, that's goodfor managers remember. Yeah, need be asking them. Yeahs, and yourability to have the answers, which is what the point of the essential questionsare to develop the answers. Your ability to answer those questions comes down tohaving that ideal customer defined. Yeah, I'm glad you highlighted that because forme I see a lot of this. Like you know, ideal customer forme is those those customers that you know that are opportunities with, customers thatyou know have like three to five main criteria, whatever that is, whichputs the opportunity into the sweet spot of your company. And what I meanby that it's like, you know,...

...things like solution fit, things likeindustry fit, things like company size, I don't care what they are,but what are those three to five criteria that every company that you put forthfor an opportunity or as in your pipeline meets what we call an ideal customer. Anything outside of those criteria has to realistically be labeled an outlier. Andwhy do we say that? Because we develop a history with ideal customers werestar solution is set up for ideal customers. Are Pricing and our ability to solvetheir problems is set up for those ideal customers. And again, thingsthat are outside of that ideal customer tend to really read havoc on companies.You can get a deal. I remember working, you know, a PDCyears ago. One of our competitors took a deal from a company that probablywas not an ideal customer for them and that company took them down. Theyno longer exist today. Yeah, and...

...to your point, if you don'tdefine that, all you're going to be doing is managing outlier. Yep.So, once you have that ideal customer, you need to walk them through thequalification. Right, we teach medic. Medpick is a version of it.Talk about the power of having a methodology like medic that allows you toveraciously qualify. To your point. Yeah, so you know, I think.I think that tool medic, medpick, whatever the variations are, I thinkit's a very simple model to remember, and you know, the most elitesellers in the world, they all are you know, they're all doingsome kind of version of of medic and it's because that they understand that there'sdepth inside of it. So the value doesn't come from the fact that it'ssimple, it comes from the massive depth of the qualification. So let's takea step back. Let's talk about what medic medic is. We do havea lot of content on it on our...

...websites. You can find it there, but give us, give us the high level there on what mediicus.Yeah, so again, it's A. It's medic or met pick. It'san acronym that was, you know, developed about twenty five years ago froma previous company that I worked with called PTC. They are probably known asthe most elite voracious qualifying organization in the world. Their stock, you know, they went from zero to a billion dollars in less than ten years.The stock split five times and seven years. And the part that I'm most inawe of during that time is that they went for a forty three straightquarters of never missing their number. You want to talk about veracious qualifying,forty three straight quarters of never missing your number. That's ten plus years andit's not just making a number, it's a number that was double digit revenueand profitable revenue growth. I'm not sure it'll ever be done again. Ihope some of our customers out there that I put the challenge out to that, you know, they'll be the ones...

...to break the streak. But it'sbecause of a great focus on qualification that made that company great and it reallythat the methodology goes to the best practice is of qualification. It forces younot to skip stages right as when you skip stages everything goes awry. Yeah, look the ambulance as like they have a answer right. Somebody want toride on the forecast of it, but tells you not just skipt stages that, more importantly, can tell you when to walk away. So you're spendingtime on high value selling. Yes and again. Whether or not we walkaway or not walk away, in my experience, is related to the qualityof your pipeline. Always some great big thoughts here on qualification and good foodfor thought for those of you listening as we're rounding out the end of theyear. So as we run at the end of years, what's any lastminutethoughts here for people listening? Well, there's a couple of them, youknow, for people that have been through...

...our stuff at force management, andeven if you haven't, you know, I think a couple of simple thingsas you round out the end of the year. I would say kind ofthree things. Closing out the business, I would look at two main things. How are we qualifying our opportunities and, and for me it's like grabbing medicmet pick whatever that qualification criteria is overlaying it on every opportunity, knowingthat that's the internal conversation of qualification that we use inside the company and thenclosing those gaps and being very specific about how to close those gaps that youfound in medic or metpick with a value based conversation. So thinking about thosetwo concepts, the power of a value based conversation, which which is really, you know, you know, an outside and approach with your customer.It's about understanding the problems. What problems do we solve for the customers?How specifically do we solve them? How do we solve them differently or betterthan anybody else? And where have we...

...done it before? You know,we kind of call that the mantra. And then coupling that with qualification criteriametpick or medic and I think that you have two things there that are reallygoing to bring home the end of the year. Commit yourself on every opportunitythat you're looking at right now with a value base conversation and a qualification criteriaright on top of it. And then towards the end of the year,right about now, you should be thinking about building a territory plan that hasthe very specifics of the plan to make the plan for the next year.And I know we're going to come back and talk about that later so Iwon't go into too much depth on that now, but those are the threethings that I would do as we begin to think about closing out the year. There's a great point about balancing that outside in focus of the buyer andthe value based conversation with that internal cadence you need both to drive growth andhave success in your in your sales organizations. Absolutely commit yourself absolutely. Thanks everybody. Thanks for joining us.

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