Qualifying Prospects – How Your Agency Can Assess Mutual Fit

Qualifying prospects for mutual fit is crucial. The more qualified leads you’re able to identify, the more potential business your agency can win. However, identifying and qualifying these “good fit leads” can be a struggle; as buyers are empowered with the ability to research and  make assumptions about your product or service without ever having to speak with a sales rep. This shift of control has changed the sales process and increased the need to assess fit. 

Deciding if a prospect is a good fit for your business is as equally important as knowing if your product or service is a good fit for the prospect. Assess mutual fit by digging a little deeper; thoroughly understand what the prospect needs, can afford, and what the implications of inaction are. Will your product or service truly help them meet their goals? By assessing mutual fit, you will increase client retention, customer loyalty, and ultimately, revenue. 

Read on and learn how you can add these two additional processes to your sales qualifying artillery. 

The Prospect Fit Matrix

The Prospect Fit Matrix was designed by HubSpot as a way to target new prospects and prioritize existing ones. This worksheet can be used to evaluate and rank your prospects to determine who is a good fit and should be contacted immediately and, who isn’t a good fit (yet) and should be nurtured until ready.  

Here, you can rank your prospects, low, medium, or high based on how well they meet the criteria in your buyer persona. Contacts will be ranked based on their business and contact characteristics as well as their online behavior. 

Expert Tip: Don’t wait until you’ve reached the exploratory section of your sales process to incorporate this tool. The Prospect Fit Matrix can be used prior to engaging with any prospect to not only ensure fit but to prioritize the businesses on your cold call sheet. 

GPCT, BA, C&I

Traditionally, B.A.N.T. Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline, was the go-to process to deliver qualified prospects and close deals, but as sales reps continue to have less control over the sale, the B.A.NT. framework just isn’t good enough. HubSpot’s solution? Well… it’s a little lengthy, so I’ll give you the quick version.

Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline

Goals: Having a thorough understanding of your prospects’ goals is at the heart of your sales process. Without clearly defining these goals, how can you be expected to help the prospect reach them? 

Here are some questions you can ask during your exploratory call to better understand their goals:

  • What is your company’s #1 goal for 2020? 
  • Who will benefit from reaching this goal and why?
  • What are your personal goals for 2020?
  • Do any of your personal goals align with the company’s goal?

Plans: Here, you’ll want to identify what the prospect is currently doing to reach their goals. What do they plan to do in the future and how do they plan to do it? The idea here is to get your prospect to open up. Help them understand that, maybe a change IS needed. But don’t offer up those tactics just yet…

  • What are you currently doing to reach your goals?
  • What are you trying this year that is different from what you’ve done in the past?
  • Why do you think that your plan will work?
  • Are you open to new ideas that could help you achieve your goals in 2020?

Challenges: No one likes to complain. Or, maybe they do? This is an opportunity for your prospect to let it all out. Encourage them to go on. “Tell me more about that…” Dig deeper into the route of the problem. Ask, “Why?” just one more time. This section of assessing fit is where you’ll shine. It will not only help you assess fit, but it can help reiterate, to the prospect, the reason they are speaking to an expert.

Take the knowledge you learn here and assess how your business offerings fit into their goals, plans, and challenges. 

  • What is stopping you from reaching your goals?
  • Do you feel confident that you‘ll be able to address this challenge and achieve your goals in 2020?
  • How do you plan to address these challenges?

Timeline: This is an excellent indicator of good fit criteria. It’s important to understand the prospect’s timeline to understand if this is a good fit for you. If the prospect is looking for solutions, “Sometime in the future…”, you’ll need to decide if they are worth investing your time. Don’t give up an opportunity to nurture, but, be mindful of where you’re spending your resources. 

  • How quickly would you like to achieve your goal?
  • When do you plan to implement the process needed to achieve that goal?
  • Do you have the resources to execute a solution?

BA (Budget and Authority)

Now that you’ve developed a solid understanding of your prospects’ needs, goals, and challenges, you’re ready to move on to the next step. Addressing budget and authority. 

Budget: Regardless of how uncomfortable you feel addressing budget, it’s ultimately the make it or break it when it comes to assessing fit. Strive to understand the big picture when it comes to budget, don’t rely on the first number they give you. If your offerings can eliminate spend in other areas of the prospects’ business, you may find that there is a budget after all.

Questions to avoid:

  • What were your total profits in 2019?
  • How much money do you have to spend on this?

Questions to ask:

  • What are you currently spending on similar products and services?
  • How much would you anticipate to invest in a solution like this?

Authority: Connecting with the decision-maker is the ultimate goal for every sales rep. However, more often than not, you’ll spend most of the sales process speaking with the “decision-influencer” and not the decision-maker. Clearly understand who the purchaser will be and keep them involved throughout the sales process while respecting the VIP and their role in the purchase. 

  • Would your team agree with the goals and challenges?
  • What concerns do you think the purchaser will have?
  • Would it make sense for me to be on the call to discuss this with your partner?

When you are introduced to the ultimate decision-maker, start from the beginning. Don’t expect your VIP to bring them up to speed. Assume they are just now joining the exploratory call and review GPCTBA to confirm and demonstrate a clear understanding of their needs. 

C&I (Negative Consequences and Positive Implications)

What are the consequences of your prospects’ inaction? What are the positive implications if your prospect reaches or surpasses their goal? You understand the value and benefit of your service, be sure to clearly demonstrate that value to the prospect. 

  • How will you benefit from meeting your goal on a personal level?
  • After you remove these challenges, what do you plan to do next?
  • If you don’t meet your company’s goal, how does that affect your personal goal?
  • What negative implications will your company face if you can’t overcome these challenges?

Developing a clear sales process will benefit your team and your prospects. Identify good fit leads early and continue to keep them engaged throughout the sales process. 

If you’d like to learn more about inbound or need help in developing a strategy for your sales team, let us know!