Stop Coaching Late Stage Opportunities (A Note to the Sales Manager)

Most sales managers want to coach late stage opportunities. It’s easy to find your way from a pipeline review to coaching an opportunity without meaning to, especially when you come across opportunities that are high visibility and high value. We want to win these “must win” opportunities so we spend time coaching them. But the problem is that most of the decisions that cause you to win or lose an opportunity happen much earlier in the sales process.

Start Coaching Early Stage Opportunities

It’s more important to coach opportunities when that coaching can change the outcome of the deal. By focusing on late stage opportunities most of the decisions that you would make and most of the actions you would take are no longer options. It’s too late. Instead, you want to coach opportunities as soon as they enter the pipeline.

  • You want to ensure that the big needs analysis sales call your team makes with their dream client creates value for that prospect and allows them to obtain the commitment and create an opportunity.
  • You want to coach opportunities when consensus is being built, ensuring that you have all the relationships and all the support you need to actually win that opportunity.
  • You want to coach opportunities when they’re in the presentation and proof stage because you want to ensure that the value you create is aligned with what your dream client believes they want and need.


When an opportunity is late in the sales process, it’s much more difficult to coach. You can coach negotiation and you can coach closing, but most of the “value capturing” you need in the way of price and margin is going to be based on the value that you created and the agreements that you obtained long before that point.

It’s difficult to make a difference coaching opportunities in the later stages. Ensure that your coaching helps your team create and win deals by coaching early in the sales process.


When do you normally coach opportunities? At what stage?

How often do you coach very early stage opportunities?

Have you ever been frustrated that your coaching doesn’t allow for too many good choices?

Why is coaching late stage opportunities more difficult?

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