Over the past few weeks, I’ve published a number of posts on pricing, value creation, walking away. They’ve stimulated some interesting comments and discussion. As I’ve read many of the comments, it struck me that we need to talk about whether we really want to chase after every opportunity.

Too often, we’re driven to win business–at any cost! We chase deals, get emotionally attached to them, are desperate to close them because we need them badly. We end up discounting, to painfully thin margins, sometimes entering into unprofitable deals. We do everything we can do get business–any business–even bad business.

Too often we celebrate winning the business, only later to find it’s a bad deal. The customer has unrealistic expectations, we’ll never be able to make them happy. We can’t make money off the deal. We can’t deliver to commitments. Whatever the reason, the good news, we won the business, the bad—we won the business business.

As sales professionals, we are taught to qualify customers—do they have a real need that we can satisfy, do they have a sense of urgency around doing something, will they seriously consider our solution, do they have a realistic budget or funding? If we get resounding “Yes’s” to all these we chase after them to win.

But it seems there is one other element we miss—Is this good business for us? If we win–can we service the customer, support the customer, keep the customer delighted, and make money? Is this the right kind of business, or does it cause us to divert critical resources and attention?

An important part of qualification but something I don’t see in qualification criteria is: Is this business we want to win and deliver on? We need to make a critical assessment of this as early in the sales process as possible. We need to look at, all aspects of the deal, what it takes to win, the likely profitability, our ability to deliver a business, and so on. We need to make those tough decisions, to we really want to go after the business. If we choose not to, we need to disqualify as soon as possible.

Are you qualifying opportunities based on the quality of the business? Or are you chasing everything?