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Sales Process Best Practices Part: 2

Authored by TopOPPS on April 16, 2014

Stage Naming  Convention

This is often the part of a sales process that seems simple but often confuses people.  For example is the stage called “Qualified” or “Qualifying”?

Qualified – Means something has already happened.

Qualifying - Means you are still going through the process.

Following the above concept take a look at the two different sales process naming conventions:

Process 1
Qualifying
Defining
Negotiating
Pending
Closed Won

Process 2

QualifiedDefined
Negotiated
Committed
Closed Won

You can see that following Process 1 allows for people to truly understand where the deal is in the sales cycle and in Process 2 it allows for personal interpretations (often by management) that the deal is further along in the sales process than reality.

How often do you hear this?

• I think my sales reps are sandbagging?

• I don’t sandbag, but I am very conservative because I don’t want management breathing down my neck about a deal.

 Advice to management: Really good sales reps will not sandbag, but they loathe something like Process 2 because they feel management has built a process that is not real.

Advice to sales reps: Your managers are always going to be asking about deals in your pipeline, get over it. If you have a good process and you follow it in the CRM, direct them back to their process. If the process is broken, well then you need to politely explain that to them as well.

Defining Exit Criteria for each stage

This is something that very few people understand but if they fixed this one thing, their entire sales process and forecast would improve immediately.  For this discussion we are going to assume Process 1 is our sales process.

So the question is when does something move from Qualifying to Defining?  The answer lies in what specific information you want.

To keep it simple we want Qualifying to include the following:

 • B – There is a line item in a department budget for your solution.

• A – You know who is the “Yes “person and who are the “No” people

• N – You have established the prospect has a real pain your solution solves.

• T – You have established that the prospect has a compelling event.

 Sales Process

• Qualifying
• Defining
• Negotiating
• Pending
• Closed Won

Sales Stage Advice: Now because we have another stage called DEFINING it’s possible that you could claim knowing Authority and Need tells you the deal is qualified. If so you need a simple checkbox that a rep can click that says Qualifying Exit Criteria the sales rep checks. This means the sales rep cannot sandbag and in that management will have to trust their sales rep.

Best Practices Advice:  – In most companies requiring full BANT to declare a deal qualified is best. It means the top of your funnel is full but also keeps the clutter from the rest of the funnel and gives you a better ability to forecast.

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