Defining and Executing Opportunity Management
Prioritize The Right People And The Right Deals
For B2B sales teams, a sales cycle is the lifeblood of their business. The lights go off if there aren’t any paying customers. From the initial contact to closing the deal and beyond, having a good grasp of the sales funnel, common trends in pipeline not closing, and indicators (age of opportunity, source, number of people involved) are good ways to minimize sending quotes when a buyer isn’t there with you. But what if there was a way to maximize your team’s potential on an ongoing basis? That’s where opportunity management comes in. Building plans for deals that are your average deal size or larger will help complement the investment in consistent evaluation of your team’s pipeline.
When we think about an opportunity in CRM, most teams think of deals. But what about stakeholders? Your business can’t reach its revenue numbers consistently without a tight understanding of how to help manage, prioritize, and accelerate certain deals in the queue. A large part of that is documenting the buying path, leveraging your internal supporters, and more. We’ll walk you through the most effective way to manage opportunities.
Definition of Opportunity Management
At its core, opportunity management is a methodology that helps a business improve the efficiency of moving prospective customers through the buying journey and delivers as much revenue as possible from a given subset of deals. Through an automated system, leads are identified and qualified, allowing for more targeted outreach and improved customer service. Additionally, advanced forecasting techniques help companies accurately predict future sales trends based on past performance data. With a full view of their funnel, teams can make smarter decisions about how to move forward and maximize potential gains. This will also boost productivity as time is spent more effectively on a consistent basis.
Going off of the data above, we would suggest prioritizing opportunity 2 above all else. The source indicates that the likelihood of winning the deal is by far the highest, in parallel with more stakeholders involved. Per Gong, deals with 3 stakeholders or more win at a much higher rate.
As a sales leader, utilizing an opportunity management system is essential for overseeing your sales teams. You’ll want to understand the sales cycle and define the plan that each team member should follow. This includes monitoring opportunities and assessing each sales reps performance. This will help ensure that your team is hitting their targets and meeting goals on a regular basis.
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Lead Management and Opportunity Management
We hear a lot about both lead and opportunity management. The truth of the matter is your CRM should function as an opportunity management tool in some shape or form. Small businesses and more B2C-focused companies may not use leads but focus strictly on contacts and purchase history versus “opportunities”. The main differentiator between this revolves around two areas.
The team: Those who are focused on lead management generally include your business development reps, business development rep managers, and potentially a marketing manager, and the buck stops typically there. When the team at Prolifiq is focused on the lead side, this is all around getting the prospect to take a demo of our solution, with agreed-upon next steps with stakeholders. At this point, it becomes an opportunity, and there is a shift towards
Opportunity management in CRM involves identifying key stakeholders throughout the sales cycle. How was the lead sourced? What is the size of the deal, or the industry? Go through the different sales stages, where do opportunities typically get stuck? These factors may impact how the opportunity is handled. What products are involved? We break down how we handle opportunity planning here.
Opportunity management examples include working through all pipeline scheduled to close within a quarter, or a year, depending on your sales cycle. Assess where they’re at in the funnel (opportunity stage). Identify how much engagement/support you have in your deals. Are you single-threaded? Is the communication one-sided? Were these lower intent hand raises that just turned into pipeline?
Why Opportunity Management Is Important
A sales opportunity is the juice that a rep has to hit their numbers and propel the business forward. Every potential customer matters, and managing that flow of deals is critical. Enabling the team to better assess and manage sales opportunities with potential customers. Opportunity management provides a holistic view of everything in the sales funnel, allowing each individual to easily track progress and identify any opportunities that may be slipping through the cracks. This includes deciding to deprioritize deals as well.
One of the major benefits of an opportunity management process is the ability to allocate resources efficiently. Here are a few criteria our team looks at to align on this:
- Source – Inbound demo requests close at a much higher rate and require about 60% of the time of deals that come from our account-based or partner-led efforts. We want our sellers to manage these differently.
- Business trigger – What drove them to take action right now? As you go through these notes in opportunities, trends should appear on the types of situations that are more likely to turn into customers.
- Timing and budget – these are natural factors for prioritization, and our team looks at this data to manage accordingly.
- Stakeholder Engagement – Our team uses relationship maps to document the buying path, and then reports in Salesforce to assess our landscape of supporters, blockers, and champions. Deals, where we have 3 supporters or more, will generally be a good indicator of us winning a deal, and that opportunity is managed differently.
Companies can use the data collected to make more informed decisions about the best way to use personnel and other resources. This proactive approach to sales will help keep sales teams ahead of the competition and stay ahead of the status quo. The use of Customer relationship management software and Sales Cloud, combined with an opportunity management process, is key for sales teams to quickly and effectively track opportunities and gain a 360-degree view of the sales funnel.
This provides the sales team members with the ability to make decisions on an ongoing basis, identify opportunities that may have been overlooked, and ensure that each sales rep can maximize their potential. Opportunity management is essential for any sales team looking to increase its success rate and maximize its pipeline. You don’t want to leave any potential sales in your queue.
Identifying potential customers is another key component of opportunity management. Analyzing the sales funnel can help you gain insights into which leads are worth pursuing and how best to reach them. Utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide additional clarity and assist in tracking lead activity across multiple channels.
Below is an example of how our team and VP of Sales break down our pipeline:
- Website demo requests
- PPC demo requests (Google Ads)
- Partner-Led referrals
- Salesforce App Exchange
- Content (Webinars, downloads on the website)
Leveraging this data gives us the ability to analyze how leads close by source over time, thus improving forecasting, prioritizing certain deals, and leveraging multiple internal team members for certain deals but not for others.
Opportunity Management Process
Sales opportunity management is a critical part of the sales process for sales leaders at B2B businesses to document, optimize, and evaluate consistently. Sales managers are looking to help Account Executives win more deals and maximize their pipeline. Opportunity management involves overseeing the sales pipeline, fundamentally understanding the sales cycle, monitoring sales opportunities, and assessing the performance by each salesperson.
The opportunity management process involves the use of your CRM and Sales Cloud to allocate resources among the sales team and measure the ability of individuals. Furthermore, sales team leaders should also take proactive steps on an ongoing basis to ensure that they have a complete view of pipeline that is in play for future quarters as well. In the private sector, opportunity management is critical for sales leaders to help their team maximize their pipeline and win more deals.
Sales teams should continually update their opportunity management processes to ensure they are taking full advantage of all opportunities. By leveraging the right tools and taking proactive steps, deal management becomes simpler and sales leaders can ensure their sales teams are constantly maximizing their potential.
Identifying Pipeline To Prioritize
Marketing, sales, support, and product teams leveraging your CRM consistently is a critical component for any modern sales team. By leveraging your CRM and driving consistent adoption and processes, the system becomes its opportunity management software to analyze the sales funnel. This can be done in any CRM, and for any business, whether it’s a small business or Fortune 500. A lot of this begins with sales leadership fully embracing one source of truth for all aspects of your GTM function, support, and more.
The organization can easily prioritize marketing or sales pipeline based on the source it was captured from. For example, if a company is receiving lead gen submissions on social, referrals, website demo requests, or ABM prospected leads, they can use their CRM to differentiate those leads and better address their needs. Your business may have a tough decision to make. Do you want to have more seasoned Account Executives take explicit hand-raisers (website demo) versus BDR’s qualifying leads from social?
CRM Opportunity Management: Conclusion
Sales opportunity management doesn’t have to be overly complex. A few opportunity management best practices we want you to walk away with.
- Split your funnel by where the lead and deal are sourced from
- Build out opportunity plans for any deal at your average deal size or bigger to align internal resources and sell as a team
- Manage and prioritize pipeline based on a mix of science (data) and intuition in order to drive more revenue
- Managing leads and opportunities is a different process, don’t confuse the two
What parts of Opportunity Management are typically the hardest?
Answer: Your CRM is meant to help store data, drive process, and decision-making, and provide a source of truth to direct the business. However, management of opportunities is challenging because it was NOT built to guide reps on who to engage, what steps they need to take next, or which opportunities should be prioritized based on historical data. The sale is the end goal, but pipeline management requires a deep dive. One of the best practices we share with clients is building a report of all closed won, and bucketing/segmenting based on deal sizes, sales cycles, company size, who led the pursuit, and more. This will give you a good start to effective sales opportunity management
What is an example of opportunity management?
Effective opportunity management is critical for sales success. When you’re managing multiple opportunities and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of pipeline, you need to have a process for picking your bets and gathering internal resources behind you to help turn opportunities into revenue. Our image above breaks down a classic example of why you treat new sales opportunities differently than others depending on a few factors. Look at your sales pipeline and break it down by stage, contract value, and how aligned to power you are. There should be a few opportunities that stand above the rest, leading you to better sales pipeline management of those sales opportunities that will help you and your team hit your target. There are tools that can help, and we’re building one that helps do everything we’ve talked about.. keep an eye out!
What are tactics you can use to accelerate sales pipeline to revenue?
Marketing and sales should be working closely together on key opportunities that your team needs to win. Our process includes working off of the opportunity plan and finding critical details to make sure we use in 1:1 campaigns across LinkedIn, sales outreach, and using our executive team and board at times as well. Our team also creates deal guides that become the ultimate guide to quickly bringing other stakeholders and executives such as a CFO. This touches on the current state and challenges, potential opportunities where Prolifiq can help, and the time it will take to see the value (ROI), and what they can expect. It helps us enable the prospects to tell the right story and gives you control of the narrative.