Provided in the table below is the step-by-step approach to help you:
- Assess opportunities,
- Identify seller skill gaps, and
- Accurately grade the opportunity.
1. Assess Opportunity
The table below provides a summary view of opportunity assessment. Below the table is a more detailed explanation of the items in the table.
|Component||Qualifier||Questions You Should Ask Seller||Skill Used|
|Solution Development||CBI|| What is the impact due to [CBI]?
What bad thing happens due to [CBI]?
Why is [CBI] occurring?
Is there a capability you provide associated with this cause?
|Capabilities|| [Event] What plausible emergency would cause this?
[Target] Who will need our capability?
[Action] Can you visually describe the capability the buyer needs?
| How does the buyer’s (CBI) effect other people in the organization?
How are those people effected?
Are other peoples’ issues causing your buyer’s CBI?
Who else is involved in making the decision & how will it be made?
|Sales Call Qualification|
Below Power Line
| Did you ask the buyer if you can meet power?
If you were denied did you negotiate for access to power by offering proof of capabilities?
|Above Power Line|| How do they want to evaluate us?
Can we meet the other impacted people?
Did you suggest/need:
|Sell Cycle Management & Control|
Critical Business Issue (CBI)
CBI’s are targets, objectives, goals or problems by which someone is judged in the performance of their job function. A Critical Business Issue may be:
- A business objective (e.g., profit growth, inventory reduction, cash flow improvement) the buyer needs help with
- Something imposed from the outside (e.g. regulation, deregulation)
- An issue recognized internally and currently causing someone emotional and/or monetary impact (e.g. VP of Sales seeing sales slippage)
Critical “Drill Down” questions you can ask to see if the seller has truly identified the CBI include:
- What is the impact on buyer’s business due to [CBI]?
- What bad thing happens due to [CBI]?
If you feel the seller has answered these questions adequately, then he/she likely has identified the true CBI.
Causes a sales person proposes are designed to lead the buyer to conclusion they need a capability that you offer.
As the saying goes, “Don’t ask questions that you don’t know the answer to!”
We have found that the best method of developing Capability Statements is to use the Event – Target – Action (ETA) Method.
- The Event: A realistic situation, event, or plausible emergency occurs that would have resulted in the “cause”
- Target: Someone in the buyer’s organization who would take action
- Action: What action should they take to address the cause? Be as specific and ‘visual’ as possible.
An example is provided in the table below.
A realistic situation, event, or plausible emergency occurs that would have resulted in the “cause”
When a sub informs you that the location of a footer for a room won’t work
Someone in the buyer’s organization who would take action
What action should they take to address the cause? Be as specific and ‘visual’ as possible.
Could pull up the drawing on a mobile device, navigate to the room, mark it up, edit in a potential resolution, record it as an RFI, send it to the architect and engineer who also pull it up on their devices, call them and finalize the change?
Identification of Impacted Individuals
Often times sellers will leave this step out or not execute it properly. While reviewing the Impact Tree, see if you believe the following questions have been answered:
- How does the buyer’s (CBI) effect other people in their organization?
- How are those people effected?
- Are other peoples’ issues causing the buyer’s CBI?
Power Line Assessment
See if you believe the following questions have been answered related to the Power Line:
- Who else would be involved in making the decision and how would it be made?
- Who are the business decision makers?
- Who would be the financial and technical decision makers?
If Below the Power Line
If you believe the buyer is below Power Line, and no attempt was made to gain access to power, get seller to go back to the buyer and ask if they could meet. IF access is denied, get seller to negotiate using undefined proof in return for access:
Example: Let me suggest this. We’re willing to prove we can provide you with the capabilities you need. But since we cannot meet with him/her, will you agree to the following? If we succeed in proving that we can give you the capabilities you need, then in return will you introduce me to him/her?
If Above the Power Line (Action Plan)
If you believe the buyer is above the Power Line, look for the following related to the Action Plan:
- No Action Plan, or a poorly set up Action Plan
- Key steps missing
- Action Plans show no activity for more than 30 days
- Inappropriate steps (giving away resources)
- Action Plan favors the buyer too much and does little to qualify the buyer.
2. Identify Seller Skill Gaps
Grade your sales person on the skills identified in Table 1: Opportunity Assessment. You can use the Skill Analyzer in the SMS Skill Development tab and/or watch the Skill Development video.
3. Assign Appropriate Stage
If you need a refresher on the stage definitions please go to the article on Stages.