When Do You Call it an Opportunity?

Devon-McDonald by

This is a part of a series that was cre­at­ed to help you get the prac­tice of out­bound prospect­ing built into your com­pany.  This series will walk through the process, nec­es­sary roles, in addi­tion to guides for each role to help your com­pany get started quickly.  In the next few posts, I’ll be releasing the contents of a quick start guide for Business Development Representatives to use to attain success during this process.

Pot of Gold

As an outbound generator, your ultimate goal is to convert leads into qualified opportunities to build the sales team’s pipeline.

What is an opportunity?

You will need to really understand this definition before you are able to convert anything over to your sales team. OpenView recommends that its portfolio companies define an opportunity as follows:

  • You have communicated your value proposition
  • You have identified the prospect’s pain points and goals
  • There is immediacy (the prospect will be ready to purchase within 90 days)
  • There is a budget for this sort of product/service
  • The decision maker has agreed to have the next conversation

It is also important that you have gathered as much information as possible from the lead, so that the account executive or sales rep will be more prepared for his/her conversation. Be sure to gather data such as:

  • Current situation
  • Specific interests
  • Concerns
  • Concerns

If the lead is at the point where it meets all of these criteria, it is time to pass the opportunity along to the appropriate sales rep. Here is a sample process for passing along the lead:

  1. Depending on what territory the opportunity sits in, alert the decision maker on the call that (sales rep’s name) will be following up.
  2. Have the sales rep’s calendar open, and give the decision maker the option of two days/times, until he/she agrees to one.
  3. If the decision maker does not want to lock down a time, let them know that the rep will be in touch within the next week, and that if they have any questions before then, you will be e-mailing them with your contact information, as well as contact information for the sales rep. This type of lead will be considered less of a priority because the person did not want to commit to a call time.
  4. After the call, send an e-mail to the contact (cc’ing the sales rep),creating the introduction between the two individuals. Thank the contact for their time, and recap the conversation (needs/pain points/and potential solutions). Alert both parties on the follow-up time, and assure the decision maker that the sales rep will be following-up on the chosen time (or within the week if there was no commitment made).
  5. Mark the time on the sales rep’s calendar and provide him/her with a detailed report of the conversation.

Once you’ve passed along the opportunity to the sales rep, there are two potential outcomes: either the sales rep accepts the opportunity, or rejects it.

  • The sales rep should contact the prospect within one week, or as otherwise specified in the next step
  • A prospect that cannot be reached after 3 phone/3 e-mail attempts will be flagged as a “rejected prospect,” will be transferred back to you for further management, and will not count toward your target numbers.

Next week, I’ll be add some simple and useful ways to continuously improve your effort.