If you’re looking for a way to re-ignite your qualification process with new and prospective clients, your business is bound to benefit from qualifying sales leads using the MANIAC-T method. While it may sound a little strange, MANIAC-T is an acronym that boils down the basic process for qualified opportunities into something manageable that is easy for your sales team to remember.
You can easily integrate the whole process for a higher return on investment with every qualified lead. This approach leads to better-qualified sales leads that can be used efficiently by small to medium businesses; it isn’t just for big companies.
Discovering new client opportunities or leads that are actually “high quality” and more likely to buy the service or product you’re selling can be a kind of art form. It takes a lot of time and energy to find high-quality leads because you have to continually try out new and different marketing campaigns to discover what works for lead generation. This frustration is where MANIAC-T can help. You can make the most of your time by knowing which leads will be the best fit for your company. As mentioned before, each letter of MANIAC-T represents one of seven steps in the qualification process.
Here is a brief description of each:
- Money. Is their a specific amount of money set aside for the project your prospective client is inquiring about? If not, things are more than likely not going to move forward smoothly. It would be a good idea to help them establish a realistic budget.
- Authority. Does your contact have the authority to make a buying decision? Who else will need to be involved in the decision-making process? Who makes the ultimate decision for the prospective client? How can you make sure you’re included and considered by the person signing off?
- Need. Do they have a specific issue that needs a solution? Is there measurable evidence to support the need for change? What is the potential impact of solving the prospect’s problem? Much like “pain points” in sales and marketing, a specific need is a requirement for a qualified sales opportunity.
- Impending Event. Does your prospective client have an upcoming event that is urgent or pressing. Is a particular scenario, season, or literal even may be driving their need? Otherwise, it may not be the right time to present a solution.
- Application. Is this prospect looking for a solution that you can offer? Is the product or service that your company provides applicable to the prospect’s request? If not, it would be a good time to refer them to someone better suited to help.
- Competition. Who are your competitors? Are they considering other alternative solutions? This question is an all-encompassing aspect that can even include the option to “do nothing” or not acting fast enough as a type of “competitor” too.
- Timeline. What does your prospect’s buying process look like? Establishing a timeline everyone can agree upon is a crucial part of the process so that each side has realistic expectations about next steps.
Each letter works together to create a smoothly running qualification process for any business, or sales and marketing team. You need to cover all bases with the MANIAC-T process for your prospective client to be the perfect fit, but you can accomplish that quite quickly once you get comfortable with the core concept, and how it can fit into your sales and marketing processes.
Using MANIAC-T, you will learn how the letters work together to create a question-based selling process. You can use this process to identify win-win scenarios with your customers. It definitely takes a lot of practice to build the habit of less pitching and better listening.
While the budget is vital to make sure you don’t go out of scope with your project, money in MANIAC-T refers to something different. “Money” also helps you rule out leads that do not have realistic expectations for what it takes to deliver a working solution.
Your potential client likely has at least a rough idea of their ideal budget when checking out your products or services. They could be the decision maker if you’re targeting B2B, or it could be a consumer looking for a product. Whatever the case, money is going to be one of the deciding factors. The client will want to spend that exact amount they have budgeted, or something close to it. It is also possible that they will want to find a service or product cheaper than the target budget.
So why would you try to sell your product or service to someone without the means to pay for it? Negotiating could cause a stressful relationship, but qualifying your sales leads can help you cut through the unknowns and create open communication.
Money matters in the qualification process. With any purchase decision, the budget is essential to understanding. Think about it: if you don’t know the ideal budget, how can you align yourself with your client’s goals? Offering the right resources and budget amount to your target audience translates to building relationships with top-notch clients and a streamlined process. Identifying the budget as an integral part of your qualification process takes the guesswork out of qualifying your leads and building a realistic sales proposal.
Now that you know there’s a budget to work with, do you have the right resources to create a good solution for your prospect? Understanding this can be a hurdle for any business, no matter the type of client. This is where our first “A” from MANIAC-T comes into play: Authority.
Budgets are crucial for any company, and it should always be a top priority to make sure that everyone is on the same page. But, it is also important to know who the authority is when it comes to final decisions on budget, and everything else involved with the project. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help keep track of key information in an account.
Communication is key to any business. The qualification process relies on excellent dialogue to better understand the target audience. Sales professionals should understand how to provide solutions to their prospective customers’ pain points. To do this, they have to know who has the authority to make the decision.
Authority in MANIAC-T often refers to the person who will sign the contract. In a business, the person with authority might be the CEO or President. For those salespeople selling to homeowners, it might be the husband and wife. Understanding who has the authority and their decision-making process can be critical. Many sales professionals run long sales cycles only to learn the CEO chose someone they knew. Most salespeople have learned this the hard way, to determine who has the authority early in the sales process.
Need is often termed “pain point” or way that the customer wants to get more value out of their project, goals, or benchmarks. Determining the need helps sales professionals determine the prospective customer’s desired result. This need might be a business looking for a better online marketing firm to help them grow. It might be a homeowner needing remodel their home to accommodate family growth. No matter the situation, sales professionals must understand the deeper need driving the search for a new solution.
Need can change over time, and is still relevant when you already have a client you’re working with as well. Too often, sales professionals get comfortable with a client and fail to work as hard to find their needs. When everyone understands the need, everyone can work towards a solution.
For consumers, the same also applies. Everybody is looking for the best deal for their needs but still, want to be sure the product or solution truly meets their needs. A homeowner might need to replace their old windows to save on energy bills. Understanding this need could help a sales professional find a win-win scenario with the customer.
Everyone has a need, whether they’re a business or consumer. When you qualify sales leads with MANIAC-T, the process helps you identify their needs and show how your solution will address them, you will win more often than not by understanding your buyers real needs.
Asking great questions will also help you uncover other related needs that a prospective client may not have even realized might also be connected and important to solve with a new solution. The question-based approach towards Needs should also investigate the reason that the need is important. In other words, what is the real issue and what measurable evidence is there to support the time, money and energy required to fix the issue. Don’t sell, add value by asking great questions!
All projects have deadlines, but sometimes there are the top priority due dates and events that should have a higher focus. This urgency is the impending event, and it can be crucial for the reasons listed below.
Life in business is busy and often driven by deadlines. This is why you need to know about impending events for your clients. While nobody can predict the future, it is better to be prepared when you know something is coming. If you already have the right information at hand your job becomes more natural when it comes to qualified opportunities.
People and businesses have events at different times. For companies, they might include brand re-launches, relocations, expanding, or seasonal demands. For people, they might consist of job relocation, family visits, and vacations. When qualifying a prospective new client, the goal is to learn what is driving the decision to make a change. You might find the deadline to be unreasonable or get to a yes or no quicker.
The MANIAC-T sales lead qualification process is here to help sales professionals and organizations shift their way of thinking about qualifying new sales, leads, and customers. There are still a few more letters to learn about in the process and how they are applied to your qualification flow. Read below to see how Application interacts with the rest of the MANIAC-T process.
We have discussed Money, Authority, Need, Impending Events, and now Application, or finding your fit. The best way to think of Application is how well your product or services fit the stated requirements. Businesses have their processes, such as lead generation or providing a service to a client. Those same internal methods also have their tools and applications that determine whether it will be beneficial to their clients.
Here’s an example: your client is looking for a general contractor to build a new location for their business. They have decided the most significant focus of this new effort is going to be finding a contractor with specific experience with building giant industrial manufacturing facilities. Are you ready to handle that work, and can you provide the best result? Weigh the stated need with your arsenal of solutions, and you have started considering your Application in the context of MANIAC-T.
This application is the same for both B2B and B2C clients. It depends on your willingness to make it work. Even if you don’t have a current solution for your customers, this is an opportunity to create one. Not only will it help your business grow, but you’ll have a new solution in the future for new clients. There may not have to be a new workforce or financial investment involved. It could become second nature as you grow your arsenal of solutions.
Qualifying every opportunity, lead, and project based on your best fit is valuable not only for the client, but for you as well. Having a foundational awareness of how well your current solutions may fit the client’s stated need can help you ask better questions to uncover the full scope of their challenges. This can either make you a better fit, or help you understand that your solutions really don’t apply all that well.
As the name implies, this includes all the competition your customers face on a daily basis, including a surprising aspect you may not have considered.What is “Competition” In MANIAC-T? No matter the business, understanding the competition needs to be a top priority. People tend to invest hours of research on competitive analysis and strategy to beat the competition. Qualifying sales leads with MANIAC-T includes keeping an eye on the competition and how it can affect your qualified opportunities.
The focus of B2B clients will most likely be keeping tabs on their competitors, and devising ways to “outsmart” them. This is where you can come in with specific services to show that you have their best interests in mind. Perhaps the client has a new product launching and needs help with research and understanding the market. Or, your client could be interested in testing out a different marketing campaign with a new target audience. But, competition goes beyond out-selling the competitors. There is one big pitfall many businesses fall prey to. Many companies become so focused on the competition that they don’t get anything done. Not being proactive is as much of competition to a business as the competing businesses. Even your own company needs to consider this when applying MANIAC-T to opportunities. Competition analysis is a two-way street. You need to know your competition with every opportunity.
Being an agile business that doesn’t become too comfortable with current processes is essential. If you are not continuing to achieve better results for your business, that can be worse than not paying attention to your competition. The same applies to your clients and qualified opportunities.
While this might sound similar to “I,” Impending Event, Timeline is entirely different in comparison. The two have their advantages and work together to complete the process. While an Impending Event refers to an event coming that is requiring a decision, the Timeline is everything within the scope of the project. The timeline considers the entire calendar for the plan to get the best results, and works backward from the desired resolution or impending event to establish a date for the buying decision to be made – a mutually agreeable deadline for decision.
Timeline affects both B2B and B2C clients. Whether you’re working with a business looking to launch a new product or a client who is looking to renovate their home, both clients will have a strict timeline. You need to be able to work with that timeline and deliver results during specific benchmarks along the way.
Knowing how to qualify your sales leads using realistic timelines means better communication and better business. You can alert your client to a big goal coming up and get their feedback in advance. Or if something needs to change, it will be easy to account for that when everyone is on the same page. This timeline means no more miscommunication or missed opportunities.
Any qualified opportunity is going to follow a necessary process, whether formal or informal, which means you’d rather have an awareness of time on your side. Rushing an opportunity creates the risk of losing the opportunity and having to begin the process all over again. When you include overseeing the timeline to your process, everything is well-prepared from the start. You don’t have to worry about random changes, surprise budgetary constraints, or scrambling. Everything can work together and still meet the deadline.
Now the real fun begins! You can take this entire process to qualify sales leads with MANIAC-T and launch it into your own business to see improved qualified opportunity results. Each part is integral, but you can still make MANIAC-T your own to best fits into your company and its culture, and your buyer styles. Remember that qualified opportunities for your current and future clients are a two-way street. If both sides work together, you can end up with surprising results on any project. Your clients will thank you for adding value instead of pitching your solutions without knowing the context!