B2B sales will define forecasts, they will define ideal customer profiles, qualified marketing leads, even qualify conversations for disco. But so infrequently we hear the conversation around what an ideal opportunity looks like – what is the perfect size business problem for us as a company to fix.
Every business only solves between 3-5 business problems on average, which should be defined by metrics, if you don’t know your business problems I would suggest starting here.
Creating an ideal opportunity profile will break down to X things….
1 – what is the size of the problem you can help with the most efficiently without working your resources too hard. This does not mean never try for a big fish, but there are plenty of middle road opportunities that are an easy solution that often get ignored in a race to close the big fish. Traditionally middle road opportunities are actually easier to work on as well because they require less resources.
2 – Root causes – assuming the root causes are always going to be fixed by your product can be dangerous. We have to admit when it is time to step aside and send them in another direction. Your ideal opportunity will come with root causes that your product can fix best, not just something your product can help with. It’s important to distinguish between the two.
2 – Is the customer willing to go on the journey with you – obviously this is going to come after discovery, but it is a good indication of where it falls in the pipeline – hesitation and overly excited can be overcome, but we are talking about the ideal opportunity. We do not want to set the bar so high that you end up having to over accommodate to make it successful.
3 – Industry – granted some of you sell into only one industry, but for the rest of use that sell into multiple industries, we have to define this. It should be coming directly from your ideal customer profile.
4 – Inbound VS outbound – neither is better, but it is worth discussing. Inbound is great because they are hand raisers and provide an easy start to the conversation. But it can also lead to self diagnosis and that will manifest in the initial meeting or as far back the CS team not being able to renew. Outbound on the other hand is much harder to start a conversation, but you are selecting companies to help, and sometimes they have thought about the fact that they have a problem, but unlikely it is to the point that they would start self diagnosing – after all, they were not reaching out for a change before you did.
Lets use the ideal opportunity like marketing uses an ideal customer profile. Lets get granular with both our team and the front line managers to confirm that everything in the pipe either meets this criteria or better. Managers, if you have any concerns with being involved with every single opportunity, remember that an opportunity that is touched by a manager more than 2 times has a 3x higher chance of closing.