What does it take to perfect the lead qualification process to a point where you get the most results possible – with the least of sales effort? We all want quality sales conversations that move fast to a deal close. Josh Harcus, founder of Huify and sales expert, gave us the scoop on how to own the sales conversation and make sure your deals close.
Josh Harcus is CEO of Huify, a venture that helps SaaS companies increase their revenue by decreasing turn and increasing sales. His focus is helping set sales teams up for success so that they can always hit their quota and succeed. He’s also author of “A Closing Culture,” and was featured on our Playmakers podcast: “Owning the Sales Conversation.”
The Lead Qualification Conundrum
Leads that end up in most companies’ pipeline are generally low quality, says Josh Harcus. This happens because most sales teams will leave the lead qualification process up to marketing.
“The reality is, you need to be locked in on every step of the process and knowing, are they at the right step? Are they qualified for me to put them at this deal stage in my pipeline? Or are they not there yet?”, said Josh, on the podcast.
The lead qualification process hits a roadblock when sales or marketing get too eager and they move people forward when they weren’t ready, says Josh. “We have unrealistic expectations and assigning higher probabilities to leads that really weren’t locked in,” adds Josh.
He explains that when a lead is considered an opportunity after four calls. However, if the lead was moved to a stage even if there were three exploratory calls – without getting any closer to the end goal of signing a contract, you’ll have trouble closing this sale.
Three Steps to Pin Down Your Lead Qualification Process
Josh advises sales teams to make sure the lead qualification process is solid before trying to close a deal. He describes a three-step process to make sure your pipeline is in good health: own the sales conversation, make sure you ask the right questions, and make sure you have the right customer fit.
All these are crucial to closing your deals and keeping customers happy, shows Josh.
Step 1: Gain Control of the Sales Conversation
Sales teams need to make sure they are in control of the conversation, when going through phone calls with their leads. Sometimes, this means rescheduling a call with a lead who is not ready to take that call – or if the decision-maker is not available to work with you.
“Let’s say you have six decision makers that are supposed to be on a call, and only two people show up and they don’t have the same decision making power as someone else. You need to reschedule that call. You’re going to spend the exact same amount of time going over the information again. It’s not going to move that lead further through the process,” says Josh.
Step 2: Ask the Right Questions
Inside sales teams need to ask the right questions to get the leads qualified to a certain stage, shows Josh Harcus. Moving leads through the sales stages faster than necessary is a sure-fire way to lose deals.
“You need to lock in questions for every stage that have to be answered by the inside sales team. These are the questions that the inside sales team has to answer to be able to move that lead to the next stage. If they can’t answer all the questions, you have no right to move them to the next stage,” said Josh.
The lead qualification questions need to be templated, shows Josh, who adds sales leaders must make sure their team has the process and the tools in place to execute and measure their performance correctly. Moreover, they need to edit the process to optimize this activity.
“Edit your sales pipeline to fit what the process actually is, not what you made it up to be in your head,” says Josh.
Step 3: Make Sure the Customer is the Right Fit
If you’ve ever paid top dollar just to have a product fail for you, you know what it means to be an unhappy customer. Sales reps need to make sure they hit quota, at the same time making sure they avoid customers that are not the right fit for the company. And they can do this by becoming an advisor for their prospects.
Sales reps should be aware of product comparisons, what competition is doing, and be sure to advise the best solution for every customer. This might mean turning away a customer or two, adds Josh.
“Let’s just say, it’s not a good fit but you sell them because you’re suave man. […] But secretly you knew your company wasn’t the best fit. What is going to happen, is that company will turn. You have just set up your company to turn a customer that wasn’t the best fit. So yes, you hit your quota but the overall company suffered from it because the output is going to be an unhappy customer at the end of the day,” concludes Josh Harcus.
Click below to to hear the entire podcast with Josh Harcus!