Are your sales reps having trouble closing? The problem might be a lack of qualified leads.
“We chose someone else.” “We’re staying with our current vendor.” “We’re not adding any new solutions this year.”
We’ve all heard those words. Devastating. What happened? It could be that sales reps neglected important activities during the early parts of the prospecting process. If their lead generation activities weren’t producing qualified leads, those sales efforts were doomed from the start.
Now what should sales reps do? Regroup, learn, debrief, and change the way they approach lead generation.
Don’t Get Stuck on Hold
The only thing more frustrating than losing to a competitor is losing to a “no decision.” But this happens all the time. Sales reps spend months working with a prospect, only to end up in an indefinite holding pattern.
How can you keep this from happening? According to Michael Nick of ROI for Sales, the key is asking tough questions during the discovery process. In his post “Five Questions to Ensure You Don’t Lose to No Decision,” he explains how confirming certain critical data points can save sales reps time, headaches, and the frustration of a “no decision.” He writes:
You will of course perform your discovery for identifying issues, capturing current cost, and discussing value. But I mean the really hard questions like:
• Is this project budgeted?
• Who owns the budget?
• What other companies are you talking to?
• What is the buying process?
• Who is the ultimate decision maker?
If you ask these very tough questions early in the sales process, you have a better chance of not getting stuck in a no decision or decision delay situation. Poor qualification is the cause of many of the issues sales professionals face at the end of (or what appears to be the end of) the sales process.
(Read the rest of Nick’s article for a step-by-step debrief of your last deal.)
The Best Way to Generate Qualified Leads
I’ve had deals that fell off the grid. I thought I’d asked the tough questions. But when I saw the debrief, I realized that I’d flunked. I now carry those deals with me at all times—reminders of what happens when we waste time on prospects who aren’t really interested in buying what we’re selling.
Strong sales requires a strong prospecting process: Your close rate is directly dependent upon your up-front investment. Want to ensure that your team only works with qualified leads? First, ensure they’re getting referrals to their ideal prospects. Then remind them to always ask the tough questions. That’s a recipe for lead generation success.