The Decision Criteria are the various criteria by which a decision to process your solution will be judged.
Sometimes the Decision Criteria exist in a physical form where the customer has taken time to construct the specification of their requirements. However, more frequently the Decision Criteria will be an informal understanding across stakeholders.
An exception to this is, of course, if the customer has created criteria set out in an RFI or RFP process where the Decision Criteria play a large part in the specification to which the seller will be asked to respond to.
It is important that sellers establish early on whether a Decision Criteria exists and if not they set about on the task of helping their customers to establish and articulate one.
Elite sellers know that influencing the Decision Criteria is one of the best strategies to help them take advantage of any competitive differentiation they have.
You can generally define the Decision Criteria into three different types. How important each part of the Decision Criteria is will depend on the organization you are selling to and which stakeholder inside of it you are dealing with. For example, the CTO/CIO is going to be vastly more interested in the technical, Decision Criteria than the CFO who is more likely to be interested in the Economic part of the Decision Criteria.
Early-Stage: Do you have a Decision Criteria? What is it? What has influenced it? How can you influence it?
Mid-Stage: Do all stakeholders know the Decision Criteria and how you uniquely solve against them? How do you score?
Late-Stage: Do you have a consensus that you solve the Decision Criteria better than anyone else? If not what are you doing to solve that?
The Decision Criteria is a critical part of your customers' Decision Process. Whether they have a Decision Criteria formalized you have to be involved it is imperative that you get your hands wrapped around it to understand and where possible influence it.