• Agreement to pursue between the manager and seller.
  • With that agreement, the manager is then in a position to assign the appropriate milestone, or stage, for the opportunity based on objectivity, not the subjectivity of a seller.
  • Conducting high quality Opportunity Assessments helps the seller and manager understand the qualification/disqualification level of an opportunity, and, if done well, is an opportunity for the manager to model the questioning process that sellers should be having in the future with their prospects.
  • Surgical identification of the selling skill difficulty or difficulties that the seller has. If a skill has been identified as an area for improvement, a plan should then be put in place to drive measurable performance improvement on the part of the seller.

The solution is a consistent set of qualification questions that sales managers must ask sellers. These qualification questions are critical and should be asked in the following sequence:

1. What is the buyer’s Critical Business Issue?

  • Is it important enough to drive a sell cycle to completion? What is the financial impact?
  • Are there other people, particularly above the buyer, who are personally impacted because of the problem?
  • Are they looking for the buyer to solve the CBI?
  • Is there a time frame expected for a resolution? When? How long?

2. In your diagnosis, did you discover the reasons for the CBI?

  • In today’s operation, why is the buyer experiencing the CBI?

3. For each diagnosed reason for the CBI, were you able to identify with the buyer a well-defined capability so that the buyer can literally see themselves successfully using the capability in a manner that will contribute to the resolution to the CBI?

4. Did you identify other key impacted individuals?

  • How are they impacted?

5. Given the other impacted individuals, is your buyer above or below the power line?

6. If below, did you negotiate to gain access to power?

7. If above, did you discuss and agree on an Action Plan, i.e., the structured sequence of events leading to a buy decision?

From this information the sales manager will be able to identify gaps and actions the seller must take. S/he will also be able to assign the appropriate stage at this point in the life of the opportunity.