As you try to determine which sales prospects to pursue and which ones you should continue to invest time into, it can help to have clarity around which ones are likely to purchase from you. Your time is very valuable and you need to protect it from being wasted on poor quality sales prospects.
To improve your ability to pursue the right prospects, it is as simple as being able to identify which ones have a decent to high probability of purchasing and which ones have a low. With the decent to high, you can have a greenlight in terms of how much time you spend with them. With the low probability sales prospects, you should be very guarded with spending time on activities like demos, presentations, travel, etc.
Here are four categories to try to assess the sales prospect. What you are looking for is a weakness in an one area. If there is just one area that is weak, then you should proceed with caution with the sales prospect.
1. Need to Purchase
Does the sales prospect have a true need to purchase what you are selling? There is a difference between an interested prospect that wants what you are selling and one that truly needs what you have.
If their interest is more of a want than a need, this does not mean that you should not pursue. But it can tell you to be cautious with how you forecast the deal in your pipeline and how much time you invest because these are the types of deals that stall out at the end of the sales process when it is time to get funding.
2. Authority to Purchase
Does the sales prospect have the authority to purchase in terms of being able to make the final decision to move forward? If you are not dealing with the ultimate decision maker, or if the ultimate decision maker is not in the loop and aware of the discussions, you may want to be concerned with how qualified the sales prospect is.
3. Ability to Purchase
Does the sales prospect have the ability to purchase your product? This could either be from a financial and funding standpoint, but it could also include an ability to move forward from a contractual standpoint and not being locked into any existing agreements.
4. Intent to Purchase
Does the prospect have genuine intent to purchase from you? This is not just do they genuinely intend to purchase, but extending that to purchasing from you. A prospect could plan to move forward but may be in deep discussions with another vendor and just talking with you for comparison purposes.