I have bad news. Deals are never locked down for life, because they need to be tested and retested constantly. The goal is always to exit the opportunity as soon as possible. Let’s know more about disqualified sale.

Through our interviews, we found that the best sales teams practice proactive disqualified sale..

When it’s clear the deal won’t close, they quickly disqualify prospects.

In this article, I’m going to share everything that these leaders shared with me about disqualified sale.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Let’s Start With Why Disqualifying Prospects Is Important

It is very important for salespeople to lose deals fast. The only problem with this is that some of the reps are not willing to do it.

When a prospect says, “Hmm, interesting” and the sales rep hears that as a yes to their offer, they spend months on it only to find out there is no deal at the last minute.

When a team doesn’t have enough time to make up for the loss, they miss their forecast and adversely affect the rest of company. This is worse than anything else that can happen with a sales team.

Despite the efforts, it still gets worse.

The costs of missing out on deals is very high. This isn’t just about the salesperson, but also all other departments who are brought in later to help with more complicated projects that have their own expensive price tags.

The best salespeople know which deals to keep in the pipeline and which to kick out of it.

The DQ (diversity quotient) is the measure of how diverse a team or workplace can be. Its purpose is to help companies become more inclusive.

To establish a proactive DQ program, you should have an in-depth understanding of the key components that make up this process.

  • Flagging Bad Deals
  • Disqualifying at Scale
  • The less understanding there is, the more waste there will be.

Flag the Bad Deals

Flag 1: Touches and time as Disqualifiers

In a disqualified sale, the most common red flags are prospects going dark. It’s easy to spot when you’re looking at them in a Salesforce report, but it can be misleading because there could have been another reason for the prospect to go dark.

For example, maybe your salespeople were talking to the wrong people or failed to connect with buyers.

Gone dark is a rough way of telling if someone has been disqualified from the process, but it’s not always accurate.

When you disqualify a lead based on their symptoms, your sales team won’t know why they lost the deal and will be wasting time with prospects who are not actually good ones.

Better Flag sets: Buyer-Centric Signals

Rather than relying on the reactive (i.e., waiting for a prospect to get back to me), I should analyze my successful deals and compare where this deal is in relation to those others.

When it comes to disqualified sale, it is not always necessary to have a complicated hiring process.

If you have your own process, then use that instead of the framework we recommend.

The new idea is to have people know more and more about the company at each stage of sales. Then, in deal review you can say “If we don’t know detail X by stage Y, then historically this deal isn’t going anywhere. If it doesn’t look like they’re qualified for a trial period or purchase after that point – disqualify them and start prospecting again.”

disqualified sale

Disqualified Sales at Scale

Organizations need to be proactive in the process of disqualifying bad deals.

Companies are usually glad when their salespeople leave, but the best teams focus on training both reps and managers to be consistent in how they disqualify people.

Approach 1: Exit Opportunity Criteria

Some companies require that you set up criteria for exiting a deal before it can move forward.

Predictable buying processes are a lot easier to move forward.

In the early stages of marketing, you might have a sales rep call to see if there is need and budget availability. In order for it to move forward into negotiation stage, they must provide documented business case that has been approved by both prospect and economic decision maker.

It is appropriate to expect more detailed deal data points as a project progresses through stages, but if someone doesn’t fill in all the fields it should only result in an alert and not prevent advancement.

Here’s why:

  • When you give your reps autonomy, they can do their best work. If there are legitimate reasons that the deal does not follow the norm, then it is fine to get them space to justify why this should be approved.
  • Data acquisition might not be linear. If a rep collects data in the wrong order, they should still move onto the next phase of your multi-stage playbook.

If you ask for all the fields to be filled in before a deal can go any further, reps will just fill it with bogus data and progress stages. And unless managers are looking at every field of every stage of every deal, they’ll get away with doing this.

They’re going to spend time on a deal that should have been disqualified.

A Better Approach: Shared Expectations

What we found is that Management’s attitude and approach has a big impact on how reps behave.

If management is looking for a lot of good, qualified applicants to fill the open positions, then reps will oblige and keep all their trash in a distracting category labeled “gone dark but you never know.”

If management wants ultra-high conversion rates, reps will oblige and not take on any deals that are less than certain. This leaves revenue on the table.

When hiring, managers should share their DQ criteria to help the sales team make rational decisions.

This can include using SFDC fields, or a one-page sheet that outlines key activities and data points.

What I learned from the experience is that, while it’s important to get a deal done, you also need to understand what makes for a good or bad offer.

If all reps and managers have a shared understanding of the decision-making process, it will be less risky for them to make DQ decisions. This is important because consistency can help you scale your company as well as maintain accuracy in forecasts.

The Best Approach: Training Your Reps

External motivation, like bonuses and commissions are needed to keep your salespeople motivated. But what you should focus on is educating them about why proactive DQ is the best way for the company to succeed.

Here are some ways to get your salespeople on board with disqualifying prospects.

  • Strong Pipeline

The best way to motivate reps is by giving them enough good leads.

When reps don’t have new prospects, they will keep working what they can find.

Some AEs also maintain their own quota, besides the leads handed over by SDRs.

  • Every time an employee doesn’t get a sale, they lose their commission.

When reps are thinking about how to spend their time, they know that every minute spent on a bad deal is a minute not spent on good deals. But when I give them an actual dollar value for those minutes, it changes the way they think.

If your quota is $1M, it works out to be about 500hour. That’s what you need to make every hour of the day.

The more you think about it, the bigger and more dramatic it becomes. You start to see how big of a difference we can make if we all work together on this.

Proactive Disqualification is a way to weed out the people who are not qualified for the job, in order to help diversify your workforce.

When you’re not meeting your targets, it can be hard to stay calm. But instead of panicking, use Proactive Disqualification and disqualify a deal earlier than you normally would.

That’s an additional $4000 in sales, just by adding one person to the team.

If you disqualify an opportunity in the 15th day instead of 45, and there are 10 opportunities open at that time, then it will take 30 days @ $4000day to make up for what was lost. That’s a total loss of potential new sales amounting to $120K.

This calculator will help you determine what your bad deals are worth if they were spent either working the good ones harder or prospecting new leads.

disqualified sale

(Yes, this math is a little bit dodgy. It’s really hard to make accurate calculations in our field.)

When you present this to your team, make sure they know how much of a commission their sales will earn on the additional revenue.

  • If you can’t say no, it’s time to rethink your priorities.

You should be emphasizing the importance of being a trusted advisor, not just an order taker.

When you say no to a deal that’s not a good fit, it makes the prospect feel like they can trust you and know your interests are in their best interest.

Saying no to a customer is never an easy thing, but it’s best if you can say yes the next time. If not, they’ll go elsewhere and your competitor might be able to help them.

More Understanding and Less Wasted Time

Too many companies are focused on reactive sales rather than being proactive.

The key is to have all employees learn about diversity. The more knowledge they have, the better.

  • Who is the buying team?
  • What are their personal goals?
  • How would you help accomplish those goals?
  • Have they agreed to mutually work on the deal?
  • Are you on track?

If your sales reps have all the answers, you’ve got a good deal. If they don’t know what to say, it’s easy to fire them and free up their time for other deals that need attention.

If you have any favorite questions, share them in the comments along with what stage of discovery they are likely to be known at.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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