One of the primary reasons sales managers and sales leaders do not win the business they need to win is because they are too focused on opportunity capture and have long given up any focus or accountability for opportunity creation. This is to get things backwards, in the wrong order.
Forecasts, Coaching, and Interesting Work
You are missing your forecast. A good part of that miss comes from deals that didn’t close and deals that pushed. Due to the extremely non-linearity of deals, being influenced and interrupted by so many factors, deals stall, get stuck, push, or die. But that isn’t why you missed your forecast. You missed your forecast because you didn’t have enough deals in the first place.
You are also coaching deals in the later stages. Who wants to talk about prospecting results and early-stage meetings? Those deals aren’t deep enough into the process to command your attention. This, even though many of the mistakes that derail deals in later stages happen much earlier in the process. Don your cape and mask and swoop in at the end, but that isn’t a strategy to rely on, nor does it scale. It’s not supposed to scale.
Deals are interesting. The bigger the deal and the closer it gets to being won, the more interesting it becomes. Down the stretch, your team needs help. They need resources, and they need modifications to the solution. This is the work sales managers love to do because it results in a win.
Your avoidance of prospecting enables your team to do the same. Everything is your fault. They are everything that you are.
Celebrating and a Too Narrow View of Wins
What if, in addition to celebrating wins, you celebrated new opportunities being created, recognizing that no deal is ever closed that is not first opened. What if the value of an opportunity created was the same as the value of an opportunity that is won.
Taking too narrow a view of what you value shifts all the focus to the end of the process, what I call The Commitment to Decide. Every step before that commitment is equally important in moving a client from target to client.
Not until you treat opportunity creation like it is equal to opportunity creation, will you have more of it.