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Opportunity Identification Defined

A key surgical performance metric should be utilized for the skill of Opportunity Identification.  Focused, process-oriented Opportunity Identification is not carried out by most sales operations, yet it is probably more important than Account Planning, and a necessary adjunct. It is, in fact, the typical “missing link” between Account Planning and Execution.  Opportunity Identification is the process by which a Seller and/or or Sales Team identifies a high probability Critical Business Issue (CBI) impacting one particular Buyer, and then translates it into the broader set of interdependent CBI’s impacting multiple Buyers. This broader set of interdependent buyers and their CBI’s should be viewed as one of the real opportunities on an account.  If Opportunity Identification is conducted properly, instead of becoming “shelf-ware”, the Account Plan will enable Sellers to identify high-probability Critical Business Issues in the Account that will drive buy/sell cycles.

The Impact Tree™

These high probability opportunities should be represented by an Impact Tree™, which provides an excellent visual representation of the buyers’ interdependent CBI’s. An example from the healthcare industry is provided below.  From this, a Seller and/or Sales Team can readily determine which Buyers they should be approaching and what highly specific message they should use that will create curiosity/interest with each buyer.

How to Build an Impact Tree™

Here is the process you can use to build an Impact Tree™:

  • Identify the Critical Business Issues of key Buyers (in particular those above Power Line), prioritizing those that favor the Seller’s organization
  • Conduct a “cause and effect” analysis to take a Buyer and his/her CBI, and expand it to determine who is likely causing the CBI and what the effect of the CBI is potentially having on other key Buyers. Note that it also enables the Seller to make an intelligent guess about which Buyers might be on a formal or informal Buying Committee
  • Identify capabilities the Seller can provide that can help each Buyer
  • Compare several high probability opportunities and prioritize them based on your overall ability to win
  • Develop the necessary knowledge tools (prospecting scripts and letters, potential Action Plans) so that those prioritized high probability opportunities are “execution ready”.

Surgical Performance Metric for Opportunity Identification

Each Impact Tree™ represents a high probability opportunity and should be assigned to the ‘S’ Stage (Suspect). The appropriate metric is the ratio of high probability opportunities identified in the ‘S’ Stage to those converted to ‘A’ or better. Thus, the S to A Ratio should be tracked.  Depending on your preexisting relationship with the account, about 25% should be converted from S to A.  If you’d like to take a closer look at these stages, see our video at “No Wiggle Room Stages”.  

What’s Up Next?

Our next article will cover Surgical Performance Metrics for the skill of Prospecting. In the meantime, provided below are some references that you may find beneficial: