Qualification of opportunities is a challenging task, vital to the organization’s effectiveness. Being able to qualify or disqualify opportunities at an early stage of the process will streamline the use of internal resources. You are responsible for the qualification decision. The strategy you use at your sales meetings will influence the qualification process.
In an ideal world, every opportunity that is chased will become a beneficial project, meaning good effort/added value ratios, divided over the time we have the capacity to execute and with an acceptable risk profile. In the ideal world, only those opportunities are qualified and the rest are disqualified whenever they become apparent. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and not all chased opportunities will become a beneficial project. To maximize the use of resources to win the battles we can win, the qualification process is important.
Many other factors influence the qualification process. Some of these factors make qualification subjective. Some of these factors are listed:
- running behind budget (lack of orders in the pipeline)
- perceived future opportunities at the client
- strong connection with the opportunity provider
- internal pressure
You understand this struggle because you are impacted by it. When you do not manage expectations at your client’s and your own organization, you are learning the hard way. When your client is counting on you to provide a solution to his challenge, he will be disappointed when you have to inform him that your company does not want to quote. You often cannot tell the complete truth. You will stick to excuses like your company is not the right fit for the project, or that there is no internal capacity. All of the reasons for disqualification influence the future with your prospect.
When you are able to make the right qualification call during the first meeting, you will be able to set expectations right from the beginning. It will save you and your prospect a lot of frustration.
You are not alone facing this challenge. Leave your comment below to share experiences and to find best practices.
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