A recent survey of sales managers conducted by selltowin.com showed that over 50% of sales forecasts were inaccurate compared to actual sales results achieved. In most cases the sales teams hit their proverbial “number” but the actual deals signed were not necessarily the ones that the reps had forecasted. Even with the dramatic strides in sales technology to support pipeline management, most sales leaders would agree that their team’s ability to predict who will buy, and when, still needs work.
This is why sales qualification skills were selected as a feature module in our Selling to Win professional sales training program. All too often, we see qualification as a skill gap.
Here are some of the questions we ask dealer principals who are frustrated with their team’s inability to predict and close business on time:
- Are your sales people qualifying the right people?
- Do your sales reps have the right qualifying questions?
- Are they qualifying across the sales cycle or just at the end?
- Do your proposals and offers encourage the deal to close when you want?
- Have you role-played with your reps to see how they qualify now?
The last question normally raises a few eyebrows. It’s because sales training has now been replaced with product training for many resellers, so the basic sales fundamentals may simply not exist. Would you agree that your organization is part of that majority that focuses more on “product training” than actual “sales skill” development?
Question: Would you rather hire a sales rep that has excellent product knowledge or excellent selling skills?
If you think your sales reps’ ability to qualify could use a tune up, here are three ideas to consider:
- Role Play – Ask reps to qualify you as the customer on a deal they are working on to test their qualification skills.
- Review Emails – Look at an email your rep is sending to see how he or she attempts to qualify the prospect.
- Provide 3rd Party Training – There’s plenty of video coaching on YouTube and of course we suggest you consider our Partner Pro On Demand Sales Training System.
While most sales organizations tend to focus on prospecting skills to get more people in the top of their sales funnel, it’s also critical for new and tenured sales professionals to be effective at moving those prospects through the funnel to convert more sales opportunities into profitable and predictable revenue with effective qualifying skills.
Maybe it’s time to check your reps’ qualifying skills before you ask them for their next sales forecast!