Monthly Archives: July 2011

Are All Opportunities Created Equal?


The answer, of course, is NO!

But if you are like most organizations, I would wager that you and your sales team have a natural tendency to “shoot at anything that moves.”

Acting with the discipline to treat opportunities differently depending on their qualification can pay huge dividends as a return on organizational effort.

We all have a limited set of differentiated offerings.  It is also true that available time for selling is tighter than ever before.  So it makes the manner in which you identify, qualify, and pursue opportunities a higher stakes game than ever before.

In his re-creation of Michal T. Bosworth’s concepts in The New Solution Selling, author Keith M. Eades draws one key distinction that can be helpful in sorting the wheat from the chaff.  The image above is a modified version of the “Solution Selling Process Flow Chart Model.”  In it you will notice that opportunities fall into two types: “Latent,” where the client is not actively looking, but your solution is a strong fit; and “Active,” where the client is looking for a solution to a specific problem, and your solution may be a strong fit. 

You can quickly sort opportunities at your firm into these two types as one way to triage potential pursuits and if/how you are going to manage them.

Sales to Latent opportunities are typically longer (more nurturing, education and collaboration with clients) but also generate less competition and more profit per deal.

Sales to Active opportunities need to be scrutinized (what is our unique win strategy?  What is our profit position? Should we pursue?) but are often a faster path to closure.

The challenge is not to develop the perfect process, but to begin to differentiate the way in which you engage on pursuits. 

Interesting things will happen when you do.   Your hit rate should increase,  you should see a higher return on your effort, and people on your team will begin to feel that you are playing to win.