Opportunity Management: How Top Sales Managers Help Reps Reach Goals

BY Kathy Crosett
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Sales managers of top-​performing groups already know this secret. Do you? The best sales outcomes stem from carefully managing lead and sales opportunities. Collecting and reporting this information helps you help your reps optimize their efforts.

The Rain Group recently published their list of essential sales metrics. The list encompasses several key sales management functions ranging from strategy to training to channel development. The enablement section of the list addresses the kinds of data that you should be collecting and sharing with your reps on a regular basis if you want to help them meet the goals you’ve set.

Sales Cycle Length

One key area for sales enablement improvement in many organizations is opportunity management. Naukul Kadaba has written on Hubspot about the kinds of information you should be giving to your reps so they can better manage their opportunities. For example, your reps should have a good idea of the length of the average sales cycle. That also means having a standard and consistent way to categorize where every lead is in the sales pipeline. If you haven't already done so, set up a lifecycle stage funnel tool for your reps. Ask them to review their lead status regularly and assign the right stage as a lead moves through the funnel. This strategy will help them recognize when a lead may be stalled. And you can then discuss strategies to help them move the lead along.

Wins and Losses

Another key area of opportunity management encompasses tracking wins and losses. Nobody likes to talk about losses. But, with the right coaching, losses can turn into gains.

Each rep should be able to access great reports that quickly display the percentage of opportunities they won in the past month or past year. If it’s possible to track competitor information, the reports your reps see should also display who won every lead that your company lost.

The purpose of providing this information is not to make your reps feel bad. Instead, you need to work with your rep to unpack why the competitor won the account. Does their product have features that yours doesn’t? Did the competitor’s rep do a better job explaining the value proposition of what they were offering? Your reps likely won’t improve their win rate until they learn to identify what went wrong with their strategy. At that point, you can work with them on how to improve next time.