Most sales efforts, training and management focus on getting to Yes. In most cases, Yes, or an order, takes a full sales cycle. A lot of time and resources are spent on your leads and prospects pipelines. Getting to “No” while not as lucrative as a “Yes” can be just as important especially in the early stages of the sales cycle as getting to “Yes”.
Sales efforts, marketing spend; management effort and other resources are all consumed getting to “Yes”. Expending these efforts on “No’s” is a huge waste of resources, dilutes your ability to analyze your sales and marketing efforts, and is a deterrent to the sales organization.
Proper lead/prospect qualification, a long topic for another time, can help you to group your prospects. It’s a harsh reality to some marketing and sales staff that their leads and prospects are unqualified, “0%” prospects, or so unlikely to buy that expending more than token efforts to their cultivation is a waste of resources.
Many companies have a sales funnel. Prospects are qualified from above 0% to 100% (100% is actually a customer) with sales stages, in many cases very subjective, reflecting the sales staffs best guess as to the overall projected weighted sales forecast. Sales staff are often coached, cajoled, rewarded and pushed to reflect higher probabilities of closure.
How often have you recognized the sales staffs’ ability to identify that some prospects are not qualified prospects, at least in the foreseeable future or in the window you maintain your sales pipeline?
- Does this prospect have a 3 year supply of your competitors’ products or are they locked up in an exclusive contract?
- Does your competitor’s brother run the company?
- Is there a former disgruntled employee of yours there blocking your access?
- Did you company burn the bridge there which will require time to heal?
- Is the company in financial difficulty?
- Is the company changing focus and moving away from the products you supply?
- Does your product really fit?
- Is your product competitive in price, quality, form, fit and function for their needs?
There are many disqualifying reasons that are OK!
Move the l-o-n-g term leads to the market folder for periodic updates and annual review and make room for prospects that have a probability of closure and new leads to qualify.
By not wasting time on call backs, beating the same dead horse, spending money on “No’s” you free up not only resources but also improve attitude in the sales group.