Mark Shonka

Qualification Tip - Follow Up

Following up on February's Tip of the Month, qualification is a tricky subject. Although it's true that the best way to improve our hit rate is to go after the right opportunities from the start, that knowledge doesn't always make it easy. This is especially true if our pipeline is weak. A well fed person may be able to take their time to find caviar and prime rib, but to a hungry person, a piece of bread can look like a feast.  

A client shared a story with us about their success, or lack thereof, in winning RFPs. Their win rate was really low, so they implemented a new set of qualification criteria to assess and qualify RFPs and auctions. The following year, they were much more selective and ended up pursuing half the number of opportunities. How did it go for them? Well, their hit rate on RFPs went up, as they could put their best people on the best opportunities. However, that wasn't the best part of the story for them. The best part was that they were able to go find and win deals that were not on their, or their competitors' radar.

This story brings out one of the biggest qualification challenge we face: if our pipeline is weak, are we disciplined enough to pass on poorly qualified situations and proactively seek out deals where we have to create demand and drive the entire sales cycle? This takes courage, but it can have a huge payoff.