50 Ways to Love your Lever (with apologies to Paul Simon)

6 minute read

You may have read the previous post where I discussed the levers that impact revenue. If so, you will recall that there are really only four things you ever need to worry about.

  1. Number of qualified deals you are working on
  2. The average value of each of these opportunities
  3. Your close percentage, or the win rate
  4. The length of the sale cycle

If you take each of these in turn, your challenge is to increase the first three, and reduce the last one.

If you move each of these factors by 10%, your overall sales velocity (measured in sales revenue per day) will increase by 48%. Of course you want the first three (number of deals, deal value and win rate) to move up by 10% and the last (sales cycle) to move down by 10%.

(If you’ve not read the post describing how one company used these levers to increase its revenue by 400%, it is worth a read to learn from that experience.)

To increase your own sales velocity, here are 50 questions you might ask yourself as you move through the sales cycle, or with apologies to Paul Simon, and his song 50 ways to leave your lover, these are 50 ways to love your lever.

  1. Is the customer in your company’s ‘sweet spot’ for your solution?
  2. Has contact been made with a buying influencer who is driving the business project?
  3. Can you confirm that your company is not locked out by a competitor?
  4. Has a specific project been identified by the customer to solve the problem?
  5. Have you agreed with the customer the specific business challenge problem(s) they need to solve?
  6. Has the customer an authorized and funded project to solve this problem?
  7. Have you evidence from the customer that this project needs to get started, or completed by a certain date?
  8. Can you confirm that you know what’s driving the project date?
  9. Where you are selling a technical solution, is the technical infrastructure in the customer’s organization compatible with your solution?
  10. Have you identified the unique value that your company can provide to the customer to solve their business challenge?
  11. Based on the information collected above, is this a real opportunity, and one that your company can win?
  12. Is this opportunity worth winning?
  13. Have you identified all of individuals at the customer who will be involved in the buying decision?
  14. Is the measurable benefit that the customer wants to achieve from their project defined and agreed with the customer?
  15. Do you know the cause of the problem that prompted the customer to act now?
  16. Do you understand the formal/informal buying process that will be undertaken by the customer?
  17. Do you understand the ranked decision criteria for each of the key buying influencers ?
  18. Are you, your product, and your company competitively well positioned relative to the alternative solutions being considered?
  19. What evidence do you have that you are well positioned?
  20. Have you developed a competitive strategy to win the business challenge business?
  21. Have you determined that the budget the customer has allocated is sufficient for your solution?
  22. Have you actively engaged with the person who owns the business results dependent on the business challenge problem? (i.e. Not just an internal service provider)
  23. Are you sure that you are not disadvantaged by a competitor being involved in setting the business challenge statement of requirements in an RFx or other format?
  24. What evidence do you have that a competitor is not in control?
  25. Is this a project your company is well positioned to service with internal resources that are available as necessary?
  26. Are you on a short-list of three or less?
  27. Is your solution a really good fit to solve the customer’s business challenge?
  28. What features of your solution can be applied to solve the specific business problem?
  29. If you were the customer, would you buy your solution from your company?
  30. What reasons can you think of that would drive the customer to buy from the competitor?
  31. Do you have evidence that you have credible internal support (a Coach, Champion, Mentor or Internal Sponsor) who is working on your behalf to recommend your solution?
  32. Have you validated with your internal support at the customer that your proposed approach and solution will be acceptable to each of the key influencers?
  33. Have you presented your solution to the each of the buying roles at the customer, by mapping your company’s capabilities to their critical needs?
  34. Can each of the key buying influencers at the customer articulate the value of your solution specifically in the context of their business?
  35. Have you outlined the Return on Investment for the customer?
  36. Have you provided third party validation (e.g. references or testimonials) for your solution and your company?
  37. Has the customer confirmed that you are the preferred supplier?
  38. Have you developed a strategy to overcome any potential reasons why your company might not win – either through a loss or a no-decision – there must be at least one!
  39. Have you reconfirmed the trigger event that is driving the project start date?
  40. Have you agreed pricing with the customer for the solution?
  41. Has the customer agreed that there is adequate budget still available?
  42. Are you engaged with legal or procurement to get master contracts, statements or work, or purchase orders approved?
  43. Have you confirmed with your company’s implementation team that this project can be implemented profitably and in line with the customer’s expectations?
  44. Has the customer allocated implementation resources to the project?
  45. Have you reconfirmed with the owner of the business problem that the solution from your company is the preferred solution?
  46. Are all terms and conditions for the business challenge project, including final prices, agreed in writing?
  47. Has an implementation plan been agreed?
  48. Are all necessary behavior change, workflow, or solution usage issues being addressed?
  49. Have you completed your account development strategy?
  50. Have you asked for a reference?

Are you asking yourself these questions and answering them honestly?

Do you have a favorite question here, or what other questions would you ask?

I’d love to hear your opinion.


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