Software Executive Magazine

August/September 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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7 Key Questions Every Software Sales Executive Should Ask When Qualifying Leads How fine-tuning your qualification process will yield more sales R A C H E L S M I T H them for your product. For instance, if your solution only works in the U.S., and they have locations interna- tionally, this would be a deal-breaker. QUESTION #2 - DO THEY HAVE A BUDGET? If your buyer has established a budget, this is an excel- lent indication they will be buying a product. And as a sales executive, of course, you want to know they will be spending money, right? When a business establishes a budget, they are creating a plan to spend (or save) mon- ey. So, if a new software solution is not in the budget, then it will be much more difficult for them to get ap- proval to buy. Price qualifying is just as important. Get an estimate of how much they are planning to spend. If they have a $150K budget, and you know your solution is no less than $500K, then this could be a deal-breaker. Is their budget CAPEX (capital expenditure) or OPEX (operating expenditure)? If they have allocated an oper- ational expense to the purchase, and you can only sell them a perpetual license, this could be a significant ob- stacle, as they likely won't have the capital to purchase your up-front fees. QUESTION #3 - WHEN ARE THEY MAKING A DECISION, AND WHAT IS THEIR PROCESS FOR MAKING A DECISION? If your prospect has determined a decision date, there is a good chance they are serious about buying a solution and his increases your success rate because, A) your efforts are focused on only those ac- counts you have a high probability of win- ning and, B) you're investing time and atten- tion only on qualified accounts. Over the past several years, my sales team at Re- tail Realm has experienced 40 percent year-over-year growth in developing our software reseller and technol- ogy partner channels, and one of the key reasons is be- cause we have been able to provide good, qualified leads. To get the answers we needed to qualify the lead, we found it best to always ask these seven fundamental questions. QUESTION #1 - DOES YOUR PRODUCT FIT? How well does the prospect meet your ideal custom- er profile? This is not an exhaustive list of questions; the purpose is to gather enough information to know there's a high probability that your solution will meet their needs. Further into the sales cycle, and after you've gathered as many details as you can about how they op- erate and what their long-term plans are, you will be in a position to determine and articulate how your product will benefit them, what business challenges it solves, how it creates new revenue streams, helps them grow, saves them money or resources, streamlines operations, etc. At this point, gather key information about their or- ganization up front that either qualifies or disqualifies T The process of qualifying or disqualifying a lead is an exercise that can prove to be fruitful for you — if you do it right. Eliminating prospects who are not serious or not able to buy means you're optimizing the amount of time you spend on those who actually want to (and are likely to) buy your product. SELLING & MARKETING Framework By R. Smith 7 KEY QUESTIONS EVERY SOFTWARE SALES EXECUTIVE SHOULD ASK WHEN QUALIFYING LEADS SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 34

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