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How to choose between all your “great” opportunities?

Sales, Scaling up

Every now and then you end up with a lot of great opportunities to chase, big chances to win and fantastic prospect’s heart’s to conquer. Unfortunately you have a limit on time, energy and resources.

(Which we all have by the way. Until you hire new people, then at first you have less time 😉 But more about that later.)

So what do you do? I want to share my experience and the matrix that helps me with making the right decisions.

I call it the “Do we want it?/Can we win it? matrix” which I have learned from Neil Rackham ( the author of spin selling).

It looks like this:

It is pretty simple. On the vertical axe you rate your opportunities from the ones that you don’t really want until the ones you really, really want. Starting at —

To make this less subjective you can use scorecards where you rate a number of criteria of which you think your dream customer should be able to meet.

Example’s of criteria can be company size, company industry, strategy but also who you are going to do business with, who is going to be your counter part….

Now comes the hard part. On the horizontal axe you rate your opportunities on the chances of winning the actual opportunity. For example; Can you win a global company’s account if you only operate in the dutch market? And be honest, please…

When you have rated and plotted your opportunitie’s on the chart you move on to the next step. You divid them into these 5 categorie’s.

We have 5 categories:

  • Don’t bid: Opportunities that end up in the lower corner. You don’t really want them and you can’t win them. Easy. Do yourself and the world a favour. Let it go. Don’t bid.
  • Pull the plug: Opportunities in the upper left corner. Let’s be honest here. You want them, but you can’t win them. Stop it. Let it go. They are out of your league 😉 Save yourself.
  • Don’t bid/low cost bid: In the lower right corner. The ones you can win but don’t really want. Don’t bid because they are not bringing any long term value to your company, but if you need a short term win do a low cost bid. And a low cost bid is not a low price bid. It is a bid which doesnt’ cost you any effort. “Here is the deal, sign here”.
  • Over resourced opportunity’s: In the middle. And here is where the trouble is. Because they are interesting enough but the competition is fierce. So what do you do? You assemble a lot of resources and great people on this opportunity and that will go at the expense of the perfect opportunity.
  • The perfect opportunity: The sweetspot. Up in the right corner. Here are the ones you want to secure. Want to close. But only if you don’t take them lightly. Take them lightly, because you were focussing on the once in the middle ( or worse in the other corners) and you drive the perfect opps right into the hands of…exactly the competition. Your perfect opportunity. The love of your life. Gone.

Think about this on a frequent basis and togehter with your team…


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