How to Hit Quota with Opportunity Management
Opportunity management – a term thrown around by sales and operations professionals with vastly different meanings depending on the company. Sales teams have a lot to juggle when it comes to managing their pipeline.
How do you ensure your reps are building support within the account and getting wide enough to ensure a higher level of success? How do they navigate blockers? Are competitors cutting their prices? Or even chasing deals with risk or lower intent to purchase? Let’s get started with what opportunity management is.
Opportunity Management: At Prolifiq, we look at this as the process of managing and prioritizing the most critical and strategic sales opportunities, and providing our sales team a process to take proactive steps to advance the deals that are most likely to close. This helps the team allocate other resources most effectively to help accelerate pipeline to close. Here’s a more in-depth description we made.
A critical part of opportunity management is having well-defined stages that all sales reps follow, creating consistency and apples-to-apples comparisons for pipeline that hit certain stages in the sales cycle. So let’s start with different stages of the sales cycle once an opportunity has been created.
At Prolifiq, there is a clear line between when an opportunity should be created. When there is a decision maker that has scheduled next steps after a product demonstration, we will create pipeline. The way our team breaks this down before a deal is closed won. A sales process that doesn’t have clear definitions of what actions need to happen for an opportunity by stage is a major mistake, increasing the odds that sales reps move the pipeline around in different manners. The stages Prolifiq uses are below :
- Capabilities Review
- Mutual Plan
- Deal Structure
Based on where the opportunity is at in one of those stages, in parallel with the close date, our team ranks and prioritizes those deals in three separate categories on a monthly basis:
- Commit: This means the team has a verbal agreement from the potential customer to sign a contract and works the same as the stage listed above. The sales reps are guaranteeing the business will close this month.
- Most likely: The sales opportunity should be at the mutual plan step at the very least, with a close date of this month. As a team, we will begin to monitor how many supporters/champions we have in the account, along with any blockers we need to navigate. More on this in our forecasting section
- Best Case: This deal is sitting in capabilities review still, with additional stakeholders needed to sign off. It’s possible the prospect has also informed us, that even if we’re working through a mutual plan, the deal closing in the month is not very likely, but hasn’t ruled it out.
Visualizing a sales funnel using the stages and categories helps our marketing and sales teams work together to accelerate the deals that have the best likelihood of becoming customers. We’ll talk through how we actually assign probability rates of an opportunity closing depending on the stage in this next section, bringing an additional layer of predictability into the sales funnel and opportunity management process.
Opportunity Management Software: A CRM is generally going to be a tool B2B sales teams need to store critical account, contact, lead, and opportunity information at a minimum. One benefit of this is forecasting, and we break down ways to understand your win rates by stage in Salesforce, and most likely all CRMs.
The ability of individuals to create comprehensive reports gives you a major increase in visibility into each opportunity and your entire pipeline. You can see not only where deals are currently at, but also where/when they’re likely to close. This will help you adjust your forecast accordingly.
Analyzing your sales funnel:
An important component of these reports is that they should be done within your Salesforce instance. Because Salesforce has such comprehensive reporting abilities, it’s only logical to do so. This ties into the best practice that all account and opportunity data should be stored in your CRM. If you have all your critical account data stored in Salesforce, you can report on some of the following metrics:
- Opportunities close when using an opportunity plan vs no plan
- Average deal size with total accuracy
- Average upsell potential by firmographic metrics
- Number of stakeholders in deals you win, by deal size/industry
There’s another way to help take this a step further. Using Opportunity History reports, you can begin to break down the conversion rates by stage as well.
Pull all the opportunities for a period of time, and ensure you include the Opportunity ID. Using an opportunity history report, you can pull the “to” and “from” stages, filter by the stage you want to learn more about, and then filter by all opportunities that are closed won and pull those opportunity ID’s.
So based on the stages we listed earlier, we would pull a report in Salesforce that is an opportunity history report, and the “to” field I may want to report on is mutual plan. I would filter off of that field, and copy every single opportunity ID, and paste it in the next tab. Make sure to de-dupe just in case an opportunity is moved to a stage multiple times.
I would remove that filter, and then filter off of the “to” stage of Financial Close, but you would use whatever stage signals the opportunity was on. Copy all of those ID’s into that same tab you just worked out of.
It’s now simply doing a V-lookup to see where you have matches, and that will tell you your win rate. We recommend checking these conversion rates on an ongoing basis depending on your sales cycle. If your cycle is 90 days or less, checking at least once per quarter is enough.
To conclude, practicing a precise opportunity management process will align your sellers on how to identify the different opportunity stages through the pipeline and ideally shorten your overall sales cycle. If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively opportunity plan, you can book a call with one of our professionals today here.