B2B sales organizations often set the “timeframe” really tight on their BANT qualifications (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe). As a result, prospects who aren’t going to buy something in the next 60 to 90 days can be somewhat ignored.
But here’s the thing…
The closer a prospect is to a purchase decision, the less influence you have over their purchasing criteria. Of course, this translates into a lower probability that they’re going to recognize your differential value. It can also increase the odds that they’ve already developed a preference for another solution and/or vendor.
On the other hand, when salespeople engage with prospects earlier in their buying process, they stand a better chance of gaining an incumbent advantage—an advantage that helps them win the business, and at higher margins.
Of course, to be effective at engaging earlier, your salespeople will need to be equipped with the right messages and sales tools.
The information provided in the earlier stages needs to be more educational in nature, and should help the prospect understand and frame the problem. In other words, you’re not teaching them about your solutions just yet—you’re teaching about the problems your solutions address. And hopefully, you’re doing so in such a way that the prospect becomes predisposed toward selecting a solution that only you can provide.