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In any pipeline, you will find many potential deals. Many records that show up as opportunities are not close to being deals worth pursuing. Instead, they live in your B2B sales pipeline because the salesperson must enter the record after a first meeting.

The sales manager must create many times the potential revenue they need to reach their sales goals. Every new opportunity provides cover for the sales manager. It also provides a false sense of confidence that they can meet their sales targets.

The lies you tell yourself will never be true, no matter how often you repeat them.

Detecting Opportunities

Before allowing any prospective customer’s name to be documented in your CRM, you need to ensure the potential is legitimate. A first meeting is too little evidence to prove that an opportunity exists.

Detecting an opportunity requires standards that suggest the salesperson has a real chance of pursuing and winning a deal. Effective selling requires the salesperson to spend their time with qualified prospects. Selling effectively also means the prospect is a good fit for the sales organization. By allowing anything and everything into your pipeline, you make it difficult to know what you have, and what you need. You also make it difficult to know which sales opportunities to spend time on.

In this article, we’ll look at how to identify genuine sales opportunities, qualifying these potential deals. The three ideas here will help you identify what is an opportunity and what is something less.

Why Is the Client Compelled to Change

The first question that will give up the ghost is the question, "Why is this prospective client compelled to change now?” If the salesperson is challenged by this question, it’s an indication that there may not be a true opportunity. It also indicates they need some help with their discovery strategy.

The Importance of Next Steps

In his most popular work, SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham wrote about salespeople advancing or accepting what he called “a continuation.” We use different terms to describe this but, essentially, this means the salesperson who doesn’t leave a first meeting with confirmed second meeting has failed their audition.

It could be true that the client is compelled to change but wasn’t compelled to accept another meeting. A large percentage of clients’ resistance stems from the legacy approach that explains why sales is broken. You can remove opportunities when there is no next step on the client’s calendar.

Qualifying Sales Opportunities

We are not big on qualifying using BANT (budget, authority, need, and time-bound). These questions in a first meeting betray a self-orientation, but buyers are already unhappy with the B2B sales experience.

Defining a Sales Opportunity

A sales opportunity is one where the prospective client is compelled to change and improve their results. It also requires the buyers and decision-makers to be engaged with the salesperson. This willingness to spend time with the sales rep or sales team is evidence of an opportunity. It is necessary that the client is a good fit for your company and that you are right for them.

Establishing the Decision-Making Process of Potential Customers

You can test the validity of a sales opportunity by eliciting the decision-making process. The more evidence that there is a process in place, the more likely it is that you have an opportunity. This is especially true when the prospective client explains the process.

Identifying the Budget and Need for the Product or Service.

A prospect with a budget confirms the client is serious about buying. This opportunity is real if the other elements are present.


Capturing Sales Opportunities

Once you have qualified the opportunity and allowed it into your pipeline, it’s time to capture it.

Tailoring Your Approach to the Customer

Creating sales opportunities means tailoring your approach to your customers to ensure success. To win deals in today’s environment, you must help your clients by adjusting your sales process and, most likely, your solution.

Creating Urgency in Sales Opportunities: Strategies and Tips

You need to ensure your team knows how to create urgency without it looking like they are pushing the client. To create urgency, remind your contacts about the change they need and what it costs them to delay making the change.

Building Trust with Potential Customers for Increased Sales

Selling is a contest. Because this is true, you need to build relationships, rapport, and trust with the contacts interested in solving their problems. Most enterprise sales will require building consensus.

Overcoming Sales Challenges: Common Obstacles and Solutions

Winning means overcoming the sales challenges that result in lost deals. This challenge might come from a competitor also competing for the opportunity. It is common for your contacts to struggle to build consensus, but the largest obstacle is a lack of certainty and concern about failing to produce the results they need.

Those who believe they hear objections need to know they are hearing real concerns. Winning means resolving them to move forward.

More Real Sales Opportunities

It is important you have enough opportunities to reach your sales goals, while preventing non-opportunities from living in your pipeline. Detecting what is true and what is hopeful wishing will provide clarity on what you need to do to grow your revenue.

When your opportunities are legitimate, you need to help your team pursue and win the opportunities. As you spend more time working in effective selling using value creation strategies, you improve your odds of winning deals.

Follow the ideas here to improve your pipeline and your average win rate in B2B sales. If you need additional help, go visit our Solve for Sales page.

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 24, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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