Top Sales Reps know opportunity prioritization is a key to success. Learn how to prioritize your efforts to get the most return and hit your number.
Chaos as Strategy

 

As quarters come to an end, sales leaders need to have a good idea about where your individual opportunities stand, especially the strategic ones. To hit the number, resources must be allocated to maximize potential spend. So the question remains — how should you prioritize your efforts and that of your team to get the best outcome (as measured by close rate, deal size, margin/discount, and sale cycle length).

 

SBI research reveals that nearly 40% of the time, sales teams have no formal sales strategy to follow. And even when such a strategy exists, it is not coupled to a set of tactical steps to drive the desired output. Raw effort and action take over; superheroes are made; but planning and discipline are left by the wayside. So the success, when and if it happens, is non-repeatable. As the new quarter cranks up, the same is expected of the few sales people who brought in the big deals. And then, after several quarters or even years of this happening, those ‘A’ players walk out the door, having seen that management has no plan to take the steps to bring order and predictability to the business.

 

Don’t let this happen to you. 

 

Your first step at bringing order from the madness — Opportunity Prioritization

 

A little strategy and focus can go a long way to ensure your energies are rewarded. Any ‘A’ Player will tell you that opportunity prioritization is a key to success.  Your sales ops leaders probably already ranks accounts on certain criteria.  But how much do you know about the basis for their rankings? Is it gut-feel, or is there some science behind it? 

 

To answer that question with confidence, sales leaders should take the following steps:

 

  1. Identify the factors relevant to your situation. Prioritization is all about recognizing the factors that will impact your results.  There can be different inputs depending on your industry and type of sale. Identify the factors that have the highest probability of influencing the deal.  Ensure that your criteria affect all of the open opportunities you have. Identify the factors most relevant to the strategic deals – this gives you the biggest possible lift. They could be things like:

     

  • Revenue amount
  • Probability to close
  • Effort to close
  • Relationship in the account
  • Probability of future revenue
  • Customer timeframe to purchase your offering

     

  1. Determine how much each of these factors matter. Each factor must have a weighting to normalize the opportunities. There is no set answer unless you know how much each of these factors should weigh.  Utilizing the Avoid Tactical Thrashing Tool makes this a simple process.  Determine the top influencing factors, assign a weighting, and the tool calculates the rest.  If you are working with a team, have each member complete this exercise as well.  The more input available, the better the calculation. For example, this tool helps prioritize opportunities that differ across various dimensions. For instance:

     

  • Opportunities with a high upside but will require a lot of effort to close
  • Opportunities with a low upside and a moderate effort to close
  • Opportunities with a low upside, a low effort to close, but a high probability of further revenue

     

  1. Develop your tactics. Once you have ranked your opportunities through the algorithm, you can develop tactics.  Focus on the top-scoring opportunities and de-prioritize others. Then determine the timeframe, and what needs to be accomplished.  Create your tactical approach and determine the timeline for each action.

     

In a perfect world, we would be able to dedicate as much effort as needed for each opportunity.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

 

Download the Avoid Tactical Thrashing Tool to maximize your end-of-year efforts.  Use it to prioritize next year’s opportunities as well!

 

 

Additional Resources

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patrick Seidell

Delivering revenue growth by aligning Corporate, Sales, Marketing and Product strategies supported by executable activities throughout the organization.

Prior to joining SBI, Pat has held key positions within Sales Operations, Sales and Marketing management.  Most recently, Pat held the role of VP Sales Operations and Enablement with an industry leading IT Services company with nearly $1B in annual revenues.  He has led several transformation projects spanning Sales, Operations and Product functions for several Fortune 1000 companies.  Pat has directed several large projects to evaluate marketing content and product portfolio to align offerings and messaging to achieve revenue growth goals.

 

Pat has deep experience across several verticals, including Logistics, IT Services, Media, Market Research and Consulting.

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