Do Your Sales People Know the Status of Their Opportunities?

August 29, 2019 Uncategorized Comments Off on Do Your Sales People Know the Status of Their Opportunities?

The last newsletter discussed sales people knowing their estimated close dates so they can manage their Opportunities and close enough sales to meet their quota. A key component to the management process is the Opportunity Log that lists each Opportunity with a realistic estimated close date, the status of the opportunity within the customer’s system and the probability that you will get the order when it is placed.  

Having this Opportunity Log and keeping it updated daily will increase the sales persons efficiency and close rate. This month, let’s look at the second component of managing the Opportunity Log, knowing the status of each Opportunity within the customer’s system.  

The status of the Opportunity is where the quote is in the customer’s procurement cycle. Typically, it will be in one of four stages:

  • A lead (A)
  • A quote (B)
  • A quote that has been submitted for approval (C)
  • An approved quote and purchase is eminent (D)

The key part to remember and stay focused on is this is the status within the customer’s system not your company’s system. The customer is in control of this phase and they are the one that moves the quote from stage A to stage D, not your sales person. While a sales person can influence the flow of the quote through these stages, it is the customer that must move it along.

Because you are dealing with the customer’s system, you do not have the control you would like to have in moving the quote from stage to stage. Of course, it would be great to find needs that are in the D stage, approved and purchase is eminent, so you have minimal time involved in the process and many sales people look for these types of Opportunities.  

Often it can be better to find needs early in the process so you can clearly define the benefits your solution brings to the table while the project is taking shape. This can be extremely important with technical products and technical services because if you are involved early enough you can help write the specification and then help manage the flow of the Opportunity from stage to stage, remaining a partner throughout the process and being there when the order is ready to be placed.  

Being in the right spot at the right time is critical to this process and using the ABCD stages can help the sales person know where they need to be, what they need to be doing and the expected result. Knowing these details and updating their Opportunity Log to keep it as current as possible will improve the management of their Opportunities.  

The better the sales person knows the Opportunity and understands where it is at within the customers system, the better they can utilize their time with all of their Opportunities. Just like proactively managing the estimated close date in their Opportunity Log, proactively managing the ABCD stage so they understand the status will improve their close rate. They simply ask and keep asking and making updates to their Opportunity Log. This follow-up helps both the sales person, their company and their customer.

The Opportunity Log should be the best forecasting tool the company has and with the status updated with realistic ABCD stages, a forecast can easily be compiled. This helps management with future plans of all types from financial to personnel to resources.  

From the sales person’s standpoint, knowing the status will help them plan and manage their time. This can help them be in the right place at the right time and many other things including making updates to their plans and quotes when needed.             

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and knowing and managing the status within the customers system of every Opportunity 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.

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