Too many companies spend too many resources trying to keep customers that they should never have sold to in the first place. Many of those companies would be better-off shifting resources from trying to retain customers that are a poor fit, and use those resources to more carefully target and acquire customers that are a better fit for their offering. These ideal customers value the offering more, and are therefore less likely to leave in the first place.
But sales reps can be quick to ignore the ideal customer profile and sell to any prospect with an ability and willingness to pay. An why shouldn't they? A sale is a sale, a dollar is a dollar, and a commission is a commission, even if a sales rep sells a round hole to a square peg.
But here's the problem: It takes time, money and effort to adjust a round hole to accomodate a square peg. But if you only sell to round pegs, there's no need to adjust the hole, and those resources are freed-up for more productive and profitable purposes - like sales and marketing intiatives to attract more round pegs).
So how to solve the problem?
Re-focus your sales qualification from "Can we sell our product to this customer?" to "Should we sell our product to this customer?" The traditional qualification process answers these four questions:
- Budget: Does the prospect have funding avaialble?
- Authority: Do we have access to the person with decision-making authority?
- Need: Does the prospect have a need for our solution?
- Timing: Does the prospect plan to buy now?
Adding a fifth criterion - Fit - will change the focus enough to assure that you're selling to the right customer:
5. Fit: Does the prospect match the criteria we've defined for our ideal customer?
By properly selecting each customer, you'll have happier customers and more advocates. You'll also spend less on implementation, customer support and customer retention. And that means more resources for attracting more of the right customers.
Why should you waste the effort driving square pegs into round holes, when a round peg is a better fit for your offering, and for your bottom line?