While the traditional roles of qualification normally divide fairly evenly between AE (deal qualification) and SE (Technical fit) I think there is a third one that we are often missing….
Product <> Market Fit
Yes you might have found a willing prospect with Need, Budget and some requirements you can solve... but you need to also ask... is this right for your business?
Do we specialize in this market?
Do we have referenceable customers already in this space?
Do we have to do a bunch of custom work to make this happen?
Is the license / services mix right for our company?
Is the contract long enough or big enough to cover our cost of sale?
Traditionally all questions we might avoid for the sake of pursuing a deal... but all of these will impact not only your chances of winning, but also your chances of keeping them.
Closing business is good for everyone, but what about the long term? If you are selling a SaaS solution, at some point they will come to either churn or renew. Clients that are outside of your target client base or have heavily customized solutions tend to churn at a much higher rate.
Going after clients you know are a good fit for your business across a variety of factors is the extended qualification area that I think we should all consider as SEs. It sounds obvious, but spending $50k in cost of sale to secure a $15k ARR customer on a 2 year deal doesn’t make much sense. But how often do we consider that!?
My advice for this Monday morning is to make sure you have the highest chance of not only winning the customer but keeping them for the long term as well and getting the full economic picture across the entire view of the opportunity.
Your CFO and Ops team will also thank you for it and you’ll win way more deals as well!
Matt Finch is the Vice President, Global Solutions Consulting at Mavenlink. He's passionate about SaaS technology, leadership, and sales excellence has enabled him to successfully build award-winning sales, pre-sales, consulting and enablement organizations across the world.
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