Habit 31 – The Sales Cycle, Account and Opportunity Plan

October 28, 2016 Selling Comments Off on Habit 31 – The Sales Cycle, Account and Opportunity Plan

Habit 31 – Write out the “Sales Cycle”, “Account Plan” and “Opportunity Plan” for every “C” and “D” opportunity and maintain them religiously.

To kick off the “Account Development Habits”, let’s look at Habit 31: Write out the “Sales Cycle”, “Account Plan” and “Opportunity Plan” for every “C” and “D” opportunity and maintain them religiously.

Before you can write out a “Sales Cycle” you must know the definition of the term. For the purposes herein the “Sales Cycle” is the string of events that will happen from the beginning of the opportunity until the end of the opportunity.

A typical sales cycle could be as follows:

  • Cold call or some prospect contact
  • Phone call to secure an appointment
  • Additional phone call to secure appointment
  • Some other type of prospect contact, email, snail mail or another cold call
  • Additional phone call to secure appointment
  • Introductory sales call
    • Probe for areas of opportunity
    • Verify areas of opportunity
    • Determine if this account has potential
  • Kill or proceed
  • Write a pro forma “Sales Cycle”
  • Write an “Account Plan”
  • Pursue areas of opportunity and secure another appointment.
  • Opportunity appointment
    • Define opportunity
    • Write an “Opportunity Plan”
    • Uncover all customer/prospect personnel involved
    • Define personnel roles
  • Define customer/prospect fiscal and budget constraints
  • Define customer/prospect justification constraints
  • Secure a request for quotation
  • Submit quotation
  • Do pro forma justification
  • Demonstrate your product or service in the field
  • Get the customer/prospect to your facility
  • Determine when will the project be submitted for approval
  • Determine when the project will be approved
  • Determine who will be involved in the approval process
  • Secure sales meetings with all people involved in the approval process
    • Determine each person’s impact on the approval process
    • Develop strategies to gain support
    • Implement strategies to gain support
  • Kill or proceed
  • Define order placement criteria and dates
  • Follow-up to secure order

The above is a simple pro forma “Sales Cycle” that can be used or modified as needed.

As you can see this is not really difficult. Once you have a “Sales Cycle” outlined, for a typical sale in your industry, it will be easy to use that basic outline and modify it for each opportunity.

“Top Performers” develop a written:

  • “Account Plan” for each account defining how they want the account to develop. This defines the potential business available at each account and focuses on business available to short circuit wasted time.
  • “Sales Cycle” for each opportunity to track events that need to happen.
  • “Opportunity Plan” for each opportunity to be sure all the questions that need to be asked are in fact asked. The opportunity needs to be defined in terms of the value delivered and the competition’s impact.

“Top Performers” write these plans for each “C” and “D” opportunity and they do it without fail. It’s very easy to convince yourself that you don’t have to do it all the time. You can convince yourself and say that you will only do it for the very large sales, because the smaller ones do not deserve that much work. But this process is a matter of discipline and because it’s a matter of discipline it will be done on every “C” and “D” opportunity no matter how big or small. It is process management such as this that separates “Top Performers” from the rest of the pack.

As mentioned in the April, 2015 Newsletter, the “Sales Cycle” and the “Opportunity Plan” are really one and the same thing. They are talked about separately herein, to be sure to give proper attention to both and then, with comments such as this, make sure that everyone reading this understands that they are one and the same thing with emphasis on questions for the “Opportunity Plan.”

Writing out the “Sales Cycle” for every opportunity is a lot of work but it pays off. The milestones in the “Sales Cycle” will become follow-up points that you, as a “Top Performer”, will put in your task manager and your computer will remind you of what you’re supposed to do next. What a wonderful way to do business!

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and writing out the “Sales Cycle”, “Account Plan” and “Opportunity Plan” for every “C” and “D” opportunity and maintaining them religiously is critical to your success in sales and can easily become a Habit.

TIME MANAGEMENT.  For Top Performers every task is planned and focused on the goals that earn the results.  Top Performers plan and then engage.  They act on their plans, they work hard and they get results.

Coaching these skills is a critical part of what we do.  We are here to help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan and coach and develop the skills to implement the plan successfully.

We are having great success coaching and implementing these methods and skills and our clients

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