Questions Missed By Qualification Frameworks

Tony Hughes


Qualification is an important phase of opportunity management because pursuing business you cannot win wastes precious resources and damages morale and credibility. We all suffer from a shortage of time to sell rather than a shortage of prospects in the marketplace to sell to. The best sales people seek customers with whom they can align for the creation of value. They take the time to understand how the customer defines value and risk.

There are three types of questions that need to be asked of the buyer: discovery, qualification, and 'leads to value'. For opportunity development conversations with a prospect there is nothing better than Neil Rackham's SPIN questioning framework. The book, SPIN Selling is a timeless 'must read' for every sales person but when it comes to pure qualification, there are many frameworks including:

  • ANUM: Authority, Need, Urgency, Money
  • BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Time-frame
  • BMANTR: Budget, Method, Authority, Need, Timing, Risks, Roadblocks
  • FAINT: Funding, Authority, Interest, Need, Timeframe
  • MANDACCT: Money, Authority, Need, Decision criteria, delivery Ability, Competition, Coach, Timescale
  • MEDDIC: Metrics for ROI, Economic Buyer, Decision process, Decision criteria, Identify pain, Champion coach, Compelling event
  • NUTCASE: Need, Unique, Timing, Cash, Authority, Solution, Enemies
  • RSVP: Right Relationships, Winning strategy, Unique compelling value, strong Process Alignment
  • SCOTSMAN: Situation, Competition, Basis of Decision, Timescale, Solution, Money, Authority, Need

But none of these address the most important two qualification questions of all; and these two questions must come before everything else. They are questions for the sales person:

1. Why will they buy anything at all (is 'do nothing' the biggest competitor)?

2. Why will they buy from us (can we positively differentiate in the mind of the buyer)?

No matter which qualification acronym you use or opportunity management tool (Miller Heiman Blue Sheets, TAS 20 questions, Battleplan, eFox, etc.), always ask these first two questions first. If you're a sales manager, make it clear to your sales people that they don't get any resource for deal pursuit until they can convincingly answer these two questions.

Unless we address the 'Do Nothing' competitor and the critical issue of effective competitive differentiation, everything else is a potential waste of time and resources.


Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at or his sales methodology website at

Main image photo by Flickr: Marco Bellucci


Please Share: If you valued this article, please  share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook social media platforms. We encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions. So feel free to add a comment on this post below.

Your Invitation: We invite you to subscribe to this blog. Subscription is free and it allows you to get access to all our subscriber only content and our periodic newsletter.



Are you searching for advice that will help you grow and manage sales - or lead your sales team? You are likely to find it here. This site brings you some of the latest expert thought leadership content on business to business (B2B) sales from the SMA Sales Masterminds.








SMA Masterminds
© 2018 All Rights Reserved.