If You’re Going To Lose, Lose Quickly!

Doesn’t it always seem like it takes more time to lose an opportunity than it does to win one?  Well, based on a whole lot of empirical data I’ve collected over the years that instinct is true.  In company after company, industry after industry, 2.1 seems to be the ratio.

That doesn’t necessarily mean twice as much time is invested in the losing efforts.  It does, however, mean that loser opportunities are cluttering up the funnel, getting in the way and wastefully burning up sales rep time, attention and brain cycles.

If you’re going to lose, lose quickly!

Try this Opportunity Assessment tool using these steps: (Right click the link and “save target as” or “save link as”)

  • Customize the questions to better reflect your industry (If you wind up with more or less than 35 questions, you’ll need to change the formula in cell E59.)
  • For the next 90-120 days, complete the Opportunity Assessment for every proposal you deliver
  • Keep track of the scores and the number of winners and losers

At this point, you’ll have a pretty good feel for the score that will break the “win barrier.”  Next start completing the assessment for every opportunity as it exits each stage of your sales process.  Over time you’ll gain a very clear understanding of what will win and what will lose.  You’ll have a hard-nosed, empirical basis for making the “fish or cut bait” decisions.

Resist the temptation to reject an opportunity based solely on its score!  Use the data as a guideline for asking the tough questions.  It’s still critical to apply the business judgment of the sales rep and sometimes pursue a low odds deal for strategic reasons.

The assessment is also an excellent tool when used as a checklist.  Think like the guy in charge of a rocket launch.  When putting together your action plan to pursue an opportunity, make sure you address each item.

Use the tool.  Collect the data. You’ll dump the turkeys faster, have more time to chase the winners and jack up your revenue growth rate.

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