Sales Opportunity Management


Sales Opportunity Management

When we talk about the sales pipeline, it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of different buzzwords. Sometimes we call potential clients prospects, sometimes we call them leads, and if we’re really lucky, we eventually reach a point where we can call them customers.

And while there’s technically a difference between a prospect and a lead (the lead has generally moved beyond the one way communication stage and has actually responded to your sales contacts, thus making them a sales prospect), at the end of the day we should think of everyone in our pipeline as a sales opportunity.

A big part of sales pipeline management revolves around managing these opportunities.

Today, we’ll talk about how to get a handle on your sales opportunity management so you can shepherd these leads and prospects through the buyer’s journey and turn them in satisfied customers.

What Is Sales Opportunity Management?

As always, before we dive into the nuts and bolts of how to convert your sales opportunities, we need to take a moment to discuss what sales opportunity management is, just so we’re all on the same page.

In the simplest terms possible, sales opportunity management is the process we use to track and manage the contacts in our pipeline.

Generally speaking, these are leads who’ve shown interest in your product or services and there’s a real chance they’d be open to doing business with you.

Sales opportunity management is just the art and science of how we move them through our sales pipeline with the goal of converting them into customers.

The benefits of sales opportunity management are many, but for starters it allows you to keep track of potential customers, prioritize them based on how likely they are to actually complete a sale with you, and it can help you figure out the best way to approach a situation should they get stuck at a particular stage in the buyer’s journey.

Beyond that, it can also help you spot problems in your sales pipeline – allowing you to fix them before things clog up completely.

How Do I Start a Sales Opportunity Management Initiative?

So, hopefully by this point you’re saying to yourself “Wow! We really need to figure out how to effectively and efficiently manage our opportunities!”

The good news is that setting up a sales opportunity management program isn’t particularly difficult. In fact, if you already have a sales pipeline management program in place, you’re ahead of the game.

If you don’t have a sales pipeline management system in place, that’s okay – we’ve got your covered. You can read all about how to maximize your pipeline’s performance here.

There’s even more good news here – pipeline management can be largely automated thanks to sales enablement software. Once you lay the groundwork, there are a wide variety of software solutions on the market that utilize machine learning and Artificial Intelligence in order to not only keep your pipeline flowing at full capacity, but to help you close more deals as well.

1 Understand not all opportunities are equal

Your sales pipeline is technically the first step to building a sales opportunity management system, but we’re going to assume you already have that or have gone to the article we linked above to get started.

Once that’s in place, your next step is to start researching your opportunities.

The key takeaway here is that no two opportunities are exactly alike and not all sales opportunities are equal.

There are millions of variables in every deal – the company’s financial position, the cost of your product or service, which stakeholders are involved, how urgent the need to purchase is, and so on.

Managing your opportunities effectively means understanding the potential issues with each deal in your pipeline.

Armed with this information, you can then better prioritize the opportunities and start to understand what needs to happen next with each potential deal to move it forward.

And again, this is another instance where sales enablement software can make your life easier. Good sales enablement software can not only prioritize your opportunities by examining mountains of data and learning from past opportunities, it can also use predictive and prescriptive analytics tools to advise you on the best course of action with each of your opportunities.

2 Track your contacts

One of the areas where many companies falter with their sales efforts is in maintaining contact with their opportunities. To truly be successful, we must address and eliminate this problem.

Once you’ve established a lead or prospect is a legitimate opportunity and you’ve decided that the opportunity is at the top of your priority list, it’s important to track and maintain contact.

As we’ve learned in the past few years the amount of contact required to complete a deal has increased significantly, but we’ve found that many sales pros are actually making fewer contacts as part of the selling process. This is a recipe for failure.

We can only guess as to why your sales team is making fewer contacts, but one reason we’ve heard time and again is that they’re actually reaching out but not entering it into the CRM.

Your sales pipeline needs lots of relevant, accurate information to be effective – and if your sales team isn’t entering the data, there’s a problem.

Yet again, technology can solve this issue. Sales enablement software can track every call, meeting, and email contact your sales team makes (or ones initiated by customers too), guaranteeing you have an accurate accounting of all contact. Even better, the software can learn how frequently opportunities need to be contacted and offer insights about how to best approach them.

Staying in touch with your opportunities is vital – don’t drop the ball here!

3 Always look for ways to improve

We all have a tendency to relax a bit when things are going well. There’s no exception when it comes to sales.

If you’re hitting quotas and closing deals, it’s easy to assume your pipeline is functioning at max efficiency and that you’re making the most of your opportunities.

However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to look for ways to improve our efforts. Complacency is the enemy of progress.

And while no one closes 100% of their opportunities, we can learn as much from a failed conversion as we can a successful sale.

For example, going back to our previous point, we may discover that we lose opportunities when we initiate fewer than three contacts in a certain timeframe.

We may discover that we lose opportunities after demos, which means we may need to revamp how we show customers our product.

No one wants to lose opportunities, but lost opportunities can be a gift. If we simply look at our lost opportunities as deals that didn’t work out – without delving into the why they didn’t work out – then we’re not truly taking advantage of our opportunities.

And yet again, this is another instance where sales enablement software can make your life easier.

With software that utilizes machine learning and has complex Artificial Intelligence working behind the scenes, your sales enablement program will quickly become better at breaking down both wins and losses when it comes to opportunities.

This allows it to become even more effective at guiding your sales efforts as you move forward, helping decrease your number of missed sales opportunities while helping you sell more products and services.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully by this point of the article you realize not only the importance of tracking and measuring your sales opportunities, but that sales opportunity management is yet another tool you can use to increase revenue, improve your pipeline, and understand how your sales process works.

The best part of all of this is that if you already have a sales pipeline in place, starting to manage your opportunities is a relatively simple task that can pay huge dividends. We all love a small project that provides big rewards – and that what opportunity management is.

But even if you haven’t installed a sales pipeline (or if your pipeline could use a tune-up…), we firmly believe the effort is worth it. Understanding how your sales opportunities move through your sales pipeline will give you a greater understanding of what your clients want, what they don’t respond to, and how to help your sales team be more effective.

At the end of the day, sales opportunity management is as much about acquiring knowledge as it is closing deals – and that knowledge is the key to help you become even better at selling your product. It doesn’t even have to be complicated – there are plenty of fantastic software solutions out there to assist you.

So, what are you waiting for? Start managing your sales opportunities now and see how it helps you and your team achieve goals you thought were unattainable!

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Accent Technologies is the first and only SaaS company to bring together Sales AI and Content Management in a true  Revenue Enablement Platform. We provide both sales and marketing with better visibility into the performance of their teams. This drives revenue through intelligent recommendations for complex sales scenarios and provides the data for rich analytics that power better coaching, forecasting, and long-term customer support. Learn more about our solutions or request a live demo to see it in action.

By Accent Technologies

30th September 2020

Sales Opportunity Management the Accent Way

Revenue Teams live or die by the opportunities they create and close. But, understanding the true health of a sales opportunity isn’t easy for reps or management.

Experienced reps may have good instincts about how to gage deal health, but less experienced reps often struggle with this. Furthermore, clearly communicating opportunity health status to leadership and knowing when to ask for assistance can be extremely challenging – regardless of a rep’s experience level.

Why is that important? Because managers can’t effectively coach on things they can’t see or don’t understand. But with a sales management AI solution, leadership is able to fill in missing information, paint a clear picture of opportunity (and pipeline) health, deepen strategic thinking, and transform their pipeline review meetings.

SEE MORE: How Sales AI Shows True Opportunity Health