One way to accelerate your sales cycle is to prioritize quality leads to the top of the sales funnel. The associated challenge is developing a systematic approach to rapidly identify the best prospects so your sales team to focus on the best and most urgent new business opportunities.
There are countless ways to evaluate prospect quality. Many sales leaders use a model prospect definition as a benchmark of prospect quality. It is a simple, easy to implement process. Most companies use statistical modeling to define their Perfect Prospect and develop a prospect scoring model.
- Define your "Perfect Prospect". Limit the profile to the 5 to 7 critical factors that define your best customers. A typical B2B profile includes: annual category spend, readiness to purchase, ease of fulfilling and servicing the customer, creditworthiness, and decision-making authority.
- Qualify prospects. Develop a set of qualifying questions that your sales team can ask on the initial prospect contact to quantify prospect quality.
- Rank prospects. Score the prospects based on the critical "Perfect Prospect" factors. Most factors are used to measure relative prospect quality as a percent of "perfect" and weighted by relative importance. A few customer attributes can categorize the prospect as very low value no matter what other factors indicate. For example, if a prospect is not creditworthy, they could be taken out of the sales funnel and flagged to be reevaluated at some point in the future to see if their financial position has improved.
- Monitor sales conversion and adjust scoring to optimize. Over time, your prospect scoring will become more effective if you re-evaluate it and modify it based upon new knowledge and changing market conditions.
Evaluating prospects against your "Perfect Prospect" will result in increased close rates, accelerating your sales cycle and get more from your marketing investments.
How do you define your "Perfect Prospect"? Is your sales strategy geared towards finding them and closing them?