Get out of the quicksand! Re-qualify your sales deal

In our recent blog post, Don’t get stuck in the middle of the sales pipeline, we spoke about what can happen that might cause a deal to stall. No matter how hard we try, we have deals that will get stuck so we have to think about how to move them forward.  

One of the best ways we can get “unstuck” is to measure the amount of work our clients have invested in the deal that has resulted in real progress towards the close.  We have to re-qualify the deals that are stuck and the first step in doing this is to be honest with yourself. Ask the questions: 

Why has this sales deal gotten stuck and what has changed? 

First, we must go back to scoring the deal.  Take the time to list of the things your customer has asked you for and then rate each one: 

Step 1: Your first list should detail in order all of the things you have provided to your prospect, starting with the easiest things you can provide at the lowest cost to you and your company all the way through to the hardest and most expensive. 

Step 2: Then make a second list of equal length and put down what you want from your prospect to make the deal happen.  

Once you have built these two lists (to learn more about this, check out the Solution Selling video) you can quantify the score of your deal and do some analysis to objectively determine if it should stay in the pipeline.  

Once you have worked through these steps, fill in the following information in your CRM system:

What are we looking to do with this information? 

First, we have to think about our point of contact for this deal. If it currently resides in purchasing then we are too late to influence the deal. Remember that it’s the main role of Purchasing to get to the best possible price without assigning value to your solution/service while you are focused on getting the order. At this point, trying to influence the deal with the CBI won’t work. We need to use the CBI with our champions and executives so we can communicate the ROI.

Second, what is the average deal cycle for your products? If the deal has been hanging around longer than the average deal cycle you need to kill it and re-qualify. This means not giving yourself credit for things you don’t have. Quite frequently, salespeople rely on the fact that because they had a champion in one deal the same people will be champions again in another but this is not the right assumption. 

Re-qualification means starting again from the top:

  • Who are the people involved?
  • What are their roles in the deal?
  • What is our relationship with them (champion, supporter, enemy)?
  • Budget and priorities need to be reconfirmed and the CBI must be articulated as people, time, and money.
  • Did the players change and, if so, have you met them? 
  • Can you answer the questions: Why will your customer engage? Why will they do it now? And why will they buy from you?  

By looking objectively at the situation and then applying the necessary analysis, you can determine whether the deal should stay in the pipeline or whether you need to abandon it and start over. 

How have you been able to “unstick” a deal that stalled? If so, what tactics did you use? We’d love to hear your tips and stories! Share them with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.