Show me the money (part two)

Back in December, show me the money (part one) explored the murky topic of incentives and performance related pay for new business teams and lead generation agencies. In part two we are going to look at what for many is the holy grail – getting prospects to spill the beans about money!

As more businesses use search and social to source supplier information, it has never been easier for an agency to be found by potential clients. Forrester produced this fantastic illustration of today’s B2B customer journey highlighting exactly this point.*

But this influx of inbound enquiries means that the effective qualification of new business opportunities is more important than ever. Credentials meetings, proposals, research and pitching all take up valuable time and agency resource. If those leads then go cold, disappear or that prospect turns out,  in hindsight, not to have anywhere near the available budget required for your services, the cost to your business and morale is considerable.

And we have all been there. Promising conversations, detailed briefs, a fascinating project… but no mention of money. Or, when you ask the question about budgets, you hit a brick wall. It isn’t easy. Prospects can be steadfast in their refusal to reveal budget availability, but there are ways of asking the question that can yield results. Use open questions to  start a broader discussion rather than simply asking for a number.

Next time, try these lines of questioning and see how you get on:

  • How do you handle budget considerations?
  • How will funding for the project be justified?
  • How much is this problem currently costing the business?
  • It’s important that we provide a solution that meets your budget allocation for this project, any guidance on budgets will help us to do this.
  • Based on what you’ve told us, we anticipate a ball park figure of XXX to XXX how does that fit with your budget allocation?

If after trying this line of questioning you are still in the dark, seriously consider how much more time or resource you are prepared to commit to pursuing the opportunity. For help with effective lead qualification scorecards see me.

*with thanks to Wyndham Lewis at Equimedia for sharing this article.