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Doing a lot more work recently on opportunity management and qualification I feel the need to add a few more observations to the list published a few months ago. The full list:

  1. Rose Tinted Glasses – Sales people, by their very nature, tend to be optimistic in order to enthuse about their product, take the knocks and get back up again. However if you wear rose coloured glasses then all the deal red flags just look like flags. A little bit of pessimism when reviewing an opportunity helps determine the gaps, assumptions, curve balls and red flags.
  2. Moth at a light bulb – We are all familiar with moths flocking to the light. The same thing happens when a new opportunity appears in the funnel, the old deals lose their shine and the new ones have all the attention. Qualify in / out and maintain focus on the qualified in deals.
  3. Dog with a stick – If you have ever thrown a stick for a dog you will know how hard it is to convince the dog to stop. You try the feint throw, the dummy throw and the long throw, but still the dog runs. A similar thing happens when customers want the salesperson to go away, they ask them to take actions that are of no importance to the deal and wait for them to come back for the next action. Make sure the customer is invested in the action plan and working on mutually agreed next actions aligned to a compelling event.
  4. ‘Happy ear‘ syndrome – This is where Sales people only hear positives from the customer and convince themselves all is well with the opportunity. Then suddenly find the deal has gone away. For example the customer says “We’ve got a budget”, sound good…but dig deeper “What is the budget?” “What does the business case look like?” “Who can sign it off?” etc.
  5. Log Jam – This occurs when the pipeline looks healthy, based on total $ value, but nothing is moving forward. Analysis shows that the deals have stalled and been in the same stage too long due to poor qualification. Clear the jam and free up time to pursue the deals that can be closed.
  6. Sudden shock syndrome – The deal is forecast, the commit is made and then … nothing! Aligning the sales and buying process and clearly understanding where the customer is in their evaluation and decision process mitigates this.