Why Strategic Opportunity Reviews Fail

There is nothing more helpful to coaching big deals than a full strategic opportunity review. Spending the time to analyze the prospect’s decision-criteria, to review how you create value for the prospect, and to review the areas where your prospect has concerns, can greatly improve your overall strategy—and your chances of winning the deal.

But too often the strategic opportunity reviews run afoul of two problems.

Too Much Focus on Where You Win and Not Enough Focus On Resolving Concerns

There is no doubt that it is important to focus your approach on the areas in which you can differentiate your offering from your competitors. These are the areas of value creation where you can eliminate much of your prospect’s existing dissatisfaction and where you must necessarily focus a big part of your solution.

But mistakes are made when the focus of the strategic opportunity review creates a strategy that relies too much on your company’s strengths without spending enough time and energy focusing on resolving your prospect’s concerns. Failing to resolve your prospect’s concerns is a surefire way to lose a deal that looks good on many or most of the evaluation criteria. Unresolved concerns leave the prospect worried about the risk of making a bad decision, as well as allowing your solution to be flanked by your competitors.

The reasons that salespeople and sales managers sometime mistakenly fail to resolve their prospect’s concerns are usually the results of a few easily corrected errors.

The first error is to believe that your strengths will outweigh your weaknesses. This error is caused by a mistaken belief that scoring well on the most visible of the decision-criteria will overcome scoring lower on other, seemingly less important decision-criteria where the prospect has expressed concerns.

This isn’t always true. Leaving concerns unresolved can result in lost deals or a decision to do nothing.

The second error is caused by lacking the resourcefulness to come up with a way to resolve the concerns. Because a prospect’s concern is difficult, complicated, or expensive to resolve doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore it—especially if it is a concern about a prospect’s explicitly required need.

Ignoring the concern isn’t a strategy. More often than not, honestly addressing the concerns and reviewing potential ideas with your prospect builds trust and confidence, and it demonstrates your desire to work with them and your ability to bring your resourcefulness to bear on managing their outcomes.

Too Much Focus on Resolving Concerns and Not Enough Focus on Where You Win

The opposite approach is just as harmful. Sometimes a strategic opportunity leads a deal astray when the salesperson and sales manager place too much emphasis on resolving concerns and fail to build up all the value that they create where they have a commanding lead over their competitors.

In order to win a deal, you undoubtedly must resolve the prospect’s concerns (once you unearth them, that is). But resolving your prospect’ concerns needs to be coupled with the reinforcement of, and integration with, your clear, category-winning strengths.

The mistake that is made here is to spend too much time and energy resolving concerns—some of which may still result in a lower score than your competitors when they are weighted and analyzed—without integrating your resolution into your whole solution.

Focusing only on the resolution of concerns by itself isn’t enough. The concerns need to be resolved in a way that shows how the resolution, the changes you are making to address your prospects needs, fit into your overall solution.

Your prospect is buying your whole plan, and convincing them to do so requires that you reemphasize your existing strengths while you are resolving their concerns.

Conclusion

The strategic opportunity review is a great tool for helping to build a deal winning strategy. But spending too much or too little time resolving concerns can result in lost opportunities that otherwise may have been won. Likewise, spending too little time reemphasizing your strengths can also result in lost deals. Conduct your reviews without making these two common mistakes.

Questions

1. When competing for deals, do you spend too much time focusing on your strengths and not enough time resolving your prospect’s concerns?

2. Do you avoid resolving concerns when they are difficult challenges?

3. Would resolving those concerns help you innovate and build a competitive advantage that may enable winning other clients with similar requirements or challenges?

4. Do you use the strategic opportunity review to build and enable your resourcefulness and that of your team?

5. Do you build the resolution of concerns into your solution, reinforcing how your whole solution, including your strengths, meets your prospect’s objectives?

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