Winnability Scoring #2

Posted by | January 08, 2009 | opportunity scoring | No Comments

This post is the 3nd in a series of 5 posts highlighting best practice tools to measure winnable opportunities.  Here we had a medium average selling price and this scorer is integrated into Goldmine.

I used a simpler approach to ‘winnability’ tracking with a sales force that hadn’t been using opportunities to track deals.   They were selling into an emerging market so a combination of solution fit and the ‘desire to buy anything’ was a good proxy for ‘winnability’ -- our competition was prospect inaction vs. specific competitors.

Many of the reps came from relationship sales backgrounds (versus solution selling backgrounds) so once they had client interest, standard operating procedure was to send out a quote and hope for the best while they used a combination of charm and persistence to try and forge a friendship.

But in fact, they were often engaged in a ‘create demand’ sale with multiple buying influences and a product that had an implementation period of a few months. Placing all their chips on a typically low-level friend in the account wasn’t helping drive the opportunities and so there were many stalled accounts. To win more consistently, they needed to add more value during the buying process and also qualify opportunities better by asking the right questions and talking to the right people.

To help track winnability in addition to the standard opportunity completion stages, we set up a single winnability field on the opportunity to track the fit (three stages taking you from 10% - 30%) and likehood of the prospect buying anything (4 stages taking you from 40% - 90%).

Looking at the winnability ‘fit’ values, ‘client interest’ as a 10% winnability percentage reminded the reps that there was more work to do.  Being in our  target market or, if not, scoring more than 20 points on a fit calculator (similar to the simple opportunity scorer discussed above) got us to 20% winnability.  The third fit question – strong business value – addressed value delivered to the prospect.  We kept this as a conversation point versus a score sheet but the reps were expected to know why our solution was materially important to the prospect’s business.   You needed to have all three of these fits to continue working the deal.

We had three winnability ‘why buy anything’ factors – compelling event (CE), strategic mentor (SM) and budget created (BC) – that didn’t always happen in the same order or at all. 

We could win without a compelling event or a strategic mentor, but we had less control and those were less predictable sales cyles.  We defined a compelling event as ‘something bad happens if they don’t do this project by a certain date’.  We defined strategic mentor as ‘someone who can tell you if you really are winning.’

We were often creating demand, so it wasn’t unusal that we had to manufacture budget for our solution during the course of the sales cycle.  Therefore, it often happened later in the sales cycle than identifying (or creating) a compelling event and recruiting a strategic mentor.  But not always  - sometimes there was a specific budget when we arrived.  So you’ll notice that these three winnability factors are each worth 20% points and can be selected in any order.  All three of these would get us to 80% winnability.

Our opportunity completion cycle and winnability cycle converged at the same 90% final step – contract redline.  Once the prospect spends legal time redlining your contract, you are close to both completing a sales cycle and winning.

This approach worked well to reset expectations and establish what it really took to be in a position to consistently win business.  Along with prospect education, industry best practice sharing and coaching our champion, this approach helped our relationship-oriented reps evolve towards being solution-focused reps.

(Index of the 5 posts on opportunity scoring)

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