One of my favorite parts about leading the Engagement Operation team at Emissary is getting to see how many different ways sellers leverage our community of advisors to optimize their sales proposal process.

We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen Account Executives use their advisors’ help to uncover net-new opportunities and write winning proposals. We’ve seen Sales Managers partner with advisors to navigate procurement and close multi-million dollar deals.

But some of my favorite engagements at Emissary don’t end in a sales proposal process or a closed deal. Occasionally, engagements involve the advisor honestly telling the sales team that their product is not a fit for their target account. Of course cutting off potential business, no matter how slim your chances, can feel counterproductive and even frustrating. This type of transparency is rare and while the truth can hurt, it can also save you a lot of trouble down the road.

We encourage you to embrace the utility of disqualification. The more time you spend disqualifying leads, the more time you’ll have to pursue better business prospects. Emissary advisors’ ability to transparently disqualify target accounts in this way can be immensely valuable in helping sales teams budget their time and marketing spend.

When it comes time to create your account list, turn to your Emissary advisor and their inside knowledge of your prospect’s organization to disqualify dead-end deals, and uncover new, more promising opportunities. Here’s how.

Save yourself the time and money

Bailing on an account can be tough with your quota on the line, and even the biggest sales egos are susceptible to feelings of failure when you walk away from a deal. You can overcome any client hesitancy with the right mix of confidence, grit and determination—or, at least, that’s the mentality that’s taken you this far.

But knowing when to walk away from a bad opp should also play a role in your sales strategy. You could spend hours chasing a lead that’s never going to work out or direct those same hours toward a more compatible lead. No matter how well you present your case, sometimes a deal is just never going to work out.

You only have a finite about of time and energy to dedicate to leads, so the faster you can disqualify them, the better. And you’re not just saving time—you’re saving money. Consider the following from Altify’s 2016 Buyer/Seller Value Index:

“An average salesperson has a win rate of just over one in five deals – 21 percent. This means that for every opportunity they win, they lose four. The study shows that for a seller who closes $1 million, the cost of pursuing those lost sales is $218,000.”

That’s serious money, and it ought to clarify just how much pursuing bad leads can cost your organization.

How Emissary can help

The faster you can disqualify, the more time and dollars you save—and the greater your chances are of winning new business elsewhere. And that’s where your Emissary can help the most.

Say you’ve been working with a potential prospect for a while and everything is going well, but then you find out that your solution just isn’t compatible with their current tech stack, and they don’t plan on changing that any time soon. Just like that, the deal is dead. But how much time did you spend on that account in order to get there? If you worked with an Emissary up front, you might have learned about that incompatibility on day one, rather than day 50. And instead of wasting all that time making inroads into a dead-end organization, you could have directed your energy toward a buyer who’s actually compatible with your solution.


Emissaries can identify other potential deal-breakers in your sales proposal process beyond the obvious technical objections.

  • One of the main decision-makers has a philosophical opposition to the type of service you provide.
  • They’ve used a similar product in the past and found it unnecessary for their workflow.
  • The organization recently conducted an internal evaluation of new vendors and yours ended up at the bottom of the list.

These obstacles can be hard to uncover on your own. They’re personal and hidden behind closed doors—and you need the right insight to find them.

Disqualification isn’t goodbye

If an Emissary disqualifies a lead for you, don’t cut ties with the organization. While it’s true you won’t be getting any new business from the account in the near future, that doesn’t mean that you need to give up for good.
If a prospect is taken off your opportunities list for the year, work with your Emissary to learn a little more about why the buyer passed you over so that next year, when your prospect is ready to purchase again, you’ll have the information you need to make a more competitive run.

Also, just because one opportunity got disqualified within your prospect’s organization that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other opportunities to be had on other teams and within other divisions. Emissaries are just as adept at spotting good deals as they are at disqualifying bad ones—and that skill isn’t tied solely to your current buyer’s business, either.

Remember, your Emissaries will likely have decades of experience and will have worked for multiple organizations throughout their careers. Once your Emissary is fully briefed on your products or services, he or she can dig into their network of contacts to identify alternative targets that may be a better fit for your solution. That’s a win/win for you—and your new prospects.

Executive Insights

While disqualifying a once-promising lead can feel like a defeat, it can actually be the opposite. No matter how impressive your selling prowess and sales proposal process may be, some deals just aren’t going to work out—so why waste your time and money chasing them when you could be using that time to pursue better fits? On top of that, your Emissaries can help you disqualify leads at a faster rate by leveraging their inside knowledge of your prospect’s business to unveil deal-breakers hiding behind the scenes. That will save you time, money, and maybe a bit of pride, too.