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

Episode · 4 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 with force management. Welcome to our podcast. It's been a while since we posted posted one, for no reason other than that we've just been busy, but we're excited to bring you this one today. John Kaplan joining me today to talk qualification. 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 to talk about here at the end of the year as people trying to hit those yearly 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, the answer can often be found in focus and qualification. Yeah, I think that qualification is such an awesome topic right now, especially the time of the year that we're up, that we find ourselves in. But sales leaders and teams are often too focused on the short term and the current forecast. So I find sales organizations are having qualification conversations, you know, too late in the quarter and too late in the buying process. So you know, we're caught up and driving the number. We don't...

...even ask the question whether or not this 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 have qualified earlier are not even in the forecast. So it becomes this never ending cycle of just looking at the forecast. Yeah, and a lot of that going on right now, especially if you're on a normal fiscal year. And we have to talk about if you have this problem in one deal, like you're trying to discount, you're just trying to get in, it creates one problem. You have a deal problem, but when you have this problem happening over and over again across your sales team, that's a consistent problem and you can't depend 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's if it's qualification on one opportunity versus multiple opportunities on your team, which is 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 your number, 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 you coach against that? How do you how do you coach against having that challenge? Well, you know, a lot of times I look at, you know, opportunities that people ask me to review and I look at some of the things that we're either willing or unwilling to do on an opportunity in it it always is tied to pipeline. So I say that pipeline cures all ills and when I really look at it, what we're willing to do or unwilling to do a lot of times is a measure of our pipeline. So if that's the case, why don't we just encourage all of our managers and all of 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 franchise plan, which is really a territory plan focused on the plan, to make the plan and you and I've a talked about this before. It's probably something we should, you know, follow upon for another podcast. But you know, basically the message is encouraging sellers to look at the business as if it were their business and then, you know, having the ability to predict and understand where the revenue is coming from as if it were your business. It's incredibly, 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'll be talking about establishing that franchise mindset and upcoming podcast. So subscribe so we can do a deeper dive and that, as you said, it's important as we try to hit those those yearly numbers. Yeah, because as we're talking about it, we're focusing on opportunity these...

...and really our strength or lack of strength on opportunities is related to our ability to differentiate versus our pipeline. So again, I can't stress enough when I'm looking at opportunities, what we're willing or 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 qualifier when we've got a better pipeline. So let's dive into a little bit more 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 a various areas of sales, affectiveness qualification no different. So let's talk about those essential 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 dig into, you know, medic and met pick a little bit here, but at the top level, very simply, you know, we should ask ourselves kind 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 deal forward more efficiently and effectively? Those are really good kind of top level qualifications that you can look at and that's good for reps to remember, that's good for managers remember. Yeah, need be asking them. Yeahs, and your ability to have the answers, which is what the point of the essential questions are to develop the answers. Your ability to answer those questions comes down to having that ideal customer defined. Yeah, I'm glad you highlighted that because for me I see a lot of this. Like you know, ideal customer for me is those those customers that you know that are opportunities with, customers that you know have like three to five main criteria, whatever that is, which puts the opportunity into the sweet spot of your company. And what I mean by that it's like, you know,...

...things like solution fit, things like industry 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 forth for 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. And why do we say that? Because we develop a history with ideal customers were star solution is set up for ideal customers. Are Pricing and our ability to solve their problems is set up for those ideal customers. And again, things that are outside of that ideal customer tend to really read havoc on companies. You can get a deal. I remember working, you know, a PDC years ago. One of our competitors took a deal from a company that probably was not an ideal customer for them and that company took them down. They no longer exist today. Yeah, and...

...to your point, if you don't define 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 the qualification. Right, we teach medic. Medpick is a version of it. Talk about the power of having a methodology like medic that allows you to veraciously qualify. To your point. Yeah, so you know, I think. I think that tool medic, medpick, whatever the variations are, I think it's a very simple model to remember, and you know, the most elite sellers in the world, they all are you know, they're all doing some kind of version of of medic and it's because that they understand that there's depth inside of it. So the value doesn't come from the fact that it's simple, it comes from the massive depth of the qualification. So let's take a step back. Let's talk about what medic medic is. We do have a 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's an acronym that was, you know, developed about twenty five years ago from a previous company that I worked with called PTC. They are probably known as the 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 in awe of during that time is that they went for a forty three straight quarters 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 and it's not just making a number, it's a number that was double digit revenue and profitable revenue growth. I'm not sure it'll ever be done again. I hope 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's because of a great focus on qualification that made that company great and it really that the methodology goes to the best practice is of qualification. It forces you not 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 to ride 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 spending time on high value selling. Yes and again. Whether or not we walk away or not walk away, in my experience, is related to the quality of your pipeline. Always some great big thoughts here on qualification and good food for thought for those of you listening as we're rounding out the end of the year. So as we run at the end of years, what's any lastminute thoughts here for people listening? Well, there's a couple of them, you know, for people that have been through...

...our stuff at force management, and even if you haven't, you know, I think a couple of simple things as you round out the end of the year. I would say kind of three 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 medic met pick whatever that qualification criteria is overlaying it on every opportunity, knowing that that's the internal conversation of qualification that we use inside the company and then closing those gaps and being very specific about how to close those gaps that you found in medic or metpick with a value based conversation. So thinking about those two 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 better than anybody else? And where have we...

...done it before? You know, we kind of call that the mantra. And then coupling that with qualification criteria metpick or medic and I think that you have two things there that are really going to bring home the end of the year. Commit yourself on every opportunity that you're looking at right now with a value base conversation and a qualification criteria right 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 has the 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 I won't go into too much depth on that now, but those are the three things 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 and the value based conversation with that internal cadence you need both to drive growth and have success in your in your sales organizations. Absolutely commit yourself absolutely. Thanks everybody. Thanks for joining us.

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