SI Review: October 2011

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Power Seller

It always is captivating to watch a seasoned business development executive inspect a deal opportunity. In short order, an experienced sales pro can judge a deal’s potential in a matter of minutes. Somehow, he or she will know immediately what steps are left to close the deal, or whether he or she should kill the opportunity altogether.

The Scorecard

Actually, it’s not that magical. Rather, these sales pros adhere to a list of deal pursuit “must-haves” — a specifically designed account plan or business development strategy that captures deal opportunities in a specific marketplace for that particular firm. This list — or opportunity scorecard — institutionalizes a proven methodology, strategy and/or market experience that wins business.

These opportunity scorecards come in varying forms and development. They can be used for long-term account relationship management, major complex deal pursuits or shorter versions for evaluating everyday high volume transactions. At the end of the day, the opportunity scorecard organizes objective and subjective characteristics of an opportunity and produces a numeric score or opportunity win percentage.

They are designed to tell you how you’re doing during a sales pursuit and what you need to do in order to shore up your pursuit win potential, or whether you should walk away. They can help you rationally end ongoing relationships with unprofitable customers so you can focus on the more productive accounts in your client portfolio. But ultimately, opportunity scorecards can help you operationalize a proven sales pursuit strategy across your business development team.

Hence, the main objectives for rolling-out an “opportunity scorecard” methodology are:

  • Imbed a sales pursuit strategy that is proven to win deals for your specific market offerings and value proposition
  • Operationalize that winning formula across your business development efforts and activities and make sure every element is executed well in each committed pursuit
  • Prioritize your business development resources on only high potential pursuits by continually scoring your pipeline of deals and weeding out the comparatively low potential pursuits
  • Increasing your market competitiveness by continually improving your deal evaluation/scoring through win/lose review observations

Build It

The key elements of a successful opportunity scorecard methodology are simply governed by what sales elements need to be in place for your firm and its offerings to win business in the marketplace. It could be a particular size of the opportunity, the depth of the relationship with the buyer organization, or a differentiating delivery component that clients require in the marketplace. Some of these elements will differentiate your firm, while other success elements will be standard marketplace requirements.

All elements should be captured in your scorecard to secure the potential to win the deal.

While reading this column, you’ve probably already inventoried such elements of deals that you’ve won and the opportunities that you lost and why. So gather some members of your sales team for further input on what sales elements enhance win potential and what deal/ buyer characteristics are not favorable for your firm’s value proposition. Go capture that knowledge and incorporate it in your opportunity scorecard.

Then, decide on your calculator. You can use some highly intricate conjunctive analysis algorithm or you can give each pursuit sales element a weight of points based on importance for a total of 100 points. Allocate negative points for a bad sales element deal/buyer characteristic. A deal scoring 85 points or above would be worth pursuing/closing, while anything scoring below 50 points should be seriously considered for elimination out of your pipeline.

Anybody who has made a living in a business development role has a virtual scorecard operating constantly in their mind, because through experience they know what wins and loses deals. A distinct opportunity scorecard helps an organization focus on proven business development best practices that help them win deals and avoid chasing opportunities where they are not typically competitive. Enhance your winning potential in the marketplace by pursuing opportunities you know your team can win by deploying your proven sales strategy via an opportunity scorecard!

Stephen Clancy is Staffing Industry Analysts’ director of contingent workforce strategies and research. He can be reached at sclancy@staffingindustry.com.

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