The Roatan Divers shop staff has a multi-lingual element- The Dive Masters know Spanish, French, Swedish, Japanese, and English. Divers come here from all over the world. Currently there were people here from Spain, Puerto Rico, USA, Canada, Germany and France. While explaining the dive plan and checking the guest’s fluency - all the dive masters spoke a common language – in this case English. Then the common language goes one step deeper - into a Dive language of signs – low on air – I am ok- out of air- etc – are all hand gestures trained divers learn so they can communicate underwater where things can happen quickly and it’s very important to communicate effectively.
Transferring this to sales opportunity/forecast qualification shares some common themes
- Accuracy - Forecasts are very important and accuracy or poor accuracy can mean – a short stint as sales manager or sales rep versus a history of quarterly over-achievement and possible promotion. Not quite life/death (out of air sign) but close if you are responsible for the number.
- Resources/time - Sales management only has so much time to discuss each opportunity with the sales reps. While diving, you only have a limited amount of air so getting your communication right the first time and making it simple is very important so you follow the dive plan. In sales, it means working on the right opportunities most efficiently, with your limited resources.
Here are the Top 5 sales qualification languages I have found that exist today. There may be more and I would welcome knowledge sharing in the comment section. Some morph into sales processes but that is another topic as well I can discuss in another article.
- BANT (former IBM qualification methodology)
- SPIN (more sales process but elements of qualification)
- MEDDIC (a qualification methodology, not a sales process)
- and my favorite – LMTYE- Let Me Tell You Everything - because I really have not qualified this opportunity.
- LSLD – Local sales leader’s dialect – usually some version of #’s 1-3. Like BANTER or SPINMORE or MEDDPICKER
My experience tells me that - #4 is actually the most widely spoken! As a sales manager, how many times have you asked a rep about what’s happening at an opportunity or account and finding your ear hurting and your cell battery getting low some 20 minutes later? The problem is two fold – you should be asking specific questions around a common language so the rep cannot jump into a stream of consciousness and the rep needs to be trained on a common language for your inspection questions so they have done the work to know the answers before you call them. Then your session turns into a coaching call and a very efficient one at that. Just like the “I am ok” sign lets the dive master know she can keep going and finding cool things ( think revenue) for you to look at.
For another viewpoint - Here is a very good explanation on the importance of common qualification language from ForceManagement - a recognized leader in sales transformation.
"Standardized qualification criteria ensuring good qualified opportunities is dependent on having a common language around the criteria used to determine qualification. Whether you use MEDDIC or some other qualification language, it’s imperative as a manager that your sellers understand the necessary criteria for determining whether an opportunity is qualified or not." Click the blue link for the entire page on the ForceManagement web site
Below is a quick assessment of the other 4 common qualification languages out there today:
- MEDDIC - For the High Tech vertical ( think IT, software platforms, disruptive technologies) MEDDIC is the most widely used but most field MEDDIC knowledge is tribal in nature. See our history of MEDDIC blog.
- SPIN - For general selling environments - SPIN has been around a long time for both B2B and B2C and it is well documented and widely taught.
- BANT is also very popular in B2B (roots are IBM) for a wide range of both simple and some complex sales environments.
- LSLD - Local Sales Leadership Dialect – These languages are specific to each sales leader and can have scale issues
LSLD: Many experienced sales VP’s attract their core sales people from previous working relationships - so they know each other. Once the sales team grows, the lack of a formal common language starts showing up in inconsistent sales performance. Territories get blamed, reps get fired, all kinds of bad things happen when the root cause could be a lack of common qualification language across the global sales force.
While scuba diving, it is very important to have established a common language before you descend into the underwater environment. I feel it is also very important to have an established global common language for forecast qualification before you have a forecast call with your reps. It could mean the difference between hitting your number or ending up in a hyperbaric chamber wondering what happened.
CALL TO ACTION
If you would like to discuss our MEDDIC workshops built on a common language for High tech B2B complex sales environments, let us know via our contact us page. NOTE:MEDDIC is overkill for commodity tech products and simple mature sales environments(non-disruptive technologies).
If you use another language successfully - keep doing it and drive commonality into your on-boarding process for every new sales rep. Please share your thoughts on any common language you are using effectively so we all get a little smarter.