Actually, it’s not a secret, and it’s sometimes not called an ‘opportunity assessment.’ But it is the foundation for the coaching, motivating and communicating that shortens sales cycles.
Many B2B sales leaders hire talented managers and train them on coaching techniques. But we frequently see that they fail to execute and miss their numbers. In many cases, millions of dollars are left on the table – or lost to the competition – simply because they lack a basic job aid. This blog post will give you insights to quickly evaluate your situation to see if you are at risk.
Job aids or sales aids are the tools that the sales team uses to help move customers through their buying process. Some are used at a single point in the process – like a Sponsor Letter that confirms the customer’s needs early in the first stage. The power of the Opportunity Assessment is that it is used at every stage of the selling process. It is also vital because it is the job aid that is used by both the sales rep and the sales manager. In this blog post we’ll explore the key attributes so you can evaluate your sales process to see if this essential job aid is driving predictable success for your team.
Opportunity Assessment features:
- Internal tool; not customer-facing
- Maintained by the manager
- Opportunity-specific; not Account-specific
- Specific actions and events are assessed at each stage
- Evaluates competitive position
- Refers (links) to other job aids
- Go – No Go decision at each stage
To make an Opportunity Assessment effective, it must be customized to your sales process. A sample Opportunity Assessment is available for download by clicking on the image to the right.
The tool must be streamlined in order to be well-adopted by your sales force. Avoid the temptation to include too much information. An overview by Sales Management Insight provides more details on a wide range of topics to include in your customized assessment. Select the essentials for your specific sales process. Our one-page example is one from Acme, Inc., a fictional world-class B2B sales organization. This assessment tool includes the following areas of focus:
Stage 1: Recognize Problem
- Decision Process
Stage 2: Determine Needs
- Explicit needs
- Evaluation Process
- Access to Decision Maker
- Compelling event
Stage 3: Evaluate Options
- Unique value proposition
- Vendor selection criteria
- Quantifiable success metrics
Stage 4: Resolve Concerns
- Risk acknowledgment/mitigation
- Signs of resistance
Stage 5: Make Purchase
- Customer ‘must-haves’
- Acme concessions and non-negotiables
- Negotiation strategy
Ensure that your sales process includes a tool to consistently evaluate opportunities at every stage (Download the Opportunity Assessment template tool here).
- Assess early: coaching has the most value when it can advance an early-stage deal.
- Embed the assessment tool into your CRM system, accessible and ready for all major deals.
- If your process does not include a tool to assess opportunities, take steps to implement one immediately.
The benefits of consistent use of an Opportunity Assessment job aid are unmistakably clear. Cycle times improve, later stages flow more smoothly, up-sell revenue increases – and the sales team makes its targets. Please comment below about your experience with any job aids that help accelerate the stages of the sales process. Predictable results are the output of an efficient sales process – take time today to advance the effectiveness of your sales organization.
The fuel for a great sales process is great leads. Power up your process by attending our webinar on Lead Generation. Click below to find out more and register: