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Opportunity Management

Submitted by on Friday, 4 February 2011

Lately, a lot of new phrases are cropping up. Opportunity Management is one – and frankly, I have no idea what it means.

When I Google it, I get: ‘markets propostions while measuring success’, ‘track opportunities from lead to close,’ ‘meet your clients’ needs’, ‘forecast sales activity and revenue,’ ‘marketing validation,’ ‘market sizing,’ ‘cost of entry,’ ‘establish brand and positioning.’

Really? Gosh. It seems to be the perfect widget to do whatever needs to be done, using marketing automation and crm.

Cool, right? Except it’s not. All of this has the following problems:

  1. names coming in (and, yes, they are merely names, not leads or prospects) are largely amorphous and there is no way to know where the person is in their decision journey or their place on the Buying Decision Team;
  2. it may or may not be an opportunity (i.e. folks who are curious about a topic or want a take away or are junior people), and you have no way of knowing;
  3. even if you know one of your ‘opportunities’ is a real lead, you are not (through any form of sales model) able to understand their decision points, or be at their meetings, or be part of their discussions with other vendors or current suppliers.
  4. the data you send out may or may not meet their criteria for the sort of decisions they must make and they were just dipping in a toe.

Just because someone has shown up on your site, or called you, or are even in discussion with you, doesn’t mean they are ready, willing, or able to buy. They might be doing research for the future, or giving your data to their current vendors, or worse, to their own internal group to develop a solution.

I’ve read research that says that 80% of our leads buy something within 2 years. That means they are leaving behind a trail of dead sales people as they determine who should be on the Buying Decision Team, all of the internal decision criteria that must be resolved (from everyone who will touch the final solution)  before they can buy.

So you have a choice. You can either spend a whole bunch of money following, managing, manipulating, tracking, forecasting names, or you can learn Buying Facilitation™ and put automation to use to help the person BECOME an opportunity.

Buyers must do a series (and I’ve coded the entire series – read my latest book Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it) of idiosyncratic tasks before they can buy. To name a few, they must

  • make sure that everyone is on board and that they know the ‘right’ everyones to include in any sort of buying discussion;
  • make sure there is a way to implement the change a new solution will bring them;
  • get buy-in from the right people and departments;
  • make sure the right policies are in place to manage the new solution to reduce fallout.

Using sales you cannot ‘manage’ these things, regardless of the opportunity. But adding Buying Facilitation™ to your skill sets and to your CRM technology will give you additional capability. It’s not sales, but sales is only closing 1% of your marketing automation names.

You can either manage your opportunities, or help buyers manage their buying environments and facilitate their off-line buying decision journey. Your choice. Call me, and we’ll put together a program for you or develop unique, simple facilitation tools to help your buyers buy.

sd

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