Opportunity creation and opportunity capture are two different sets of activities. The reason I separate these two ideas is because the outcomes are so very different, as are the activities.
Opportunity creation is an outcome that requires a certain set of activities; activities that are different than opportunity capture.
The kind of activities that create opportunities include things like nurturing your dream client accounts with ideas that can help them better understand their world and better explain the decisions they need to take in order to adapt, survive, and thrive.
Opportunity creation also requires that a salesperson (and a sales organization) devote time, resources, energy, and prospecting to open the relationships that allow you to create new opportunities. Even though you need only do a minimal viable amount of research in order to prospect, you do need to spend time here if you want to create new opportunities. But not as much as you might think.
The discovery process or needs analysis or whatever you call the sets of activities where you help your client decide they need to change are also part of the opportunity creation process. During the early stages of that process, before the client has committed to change, you are still working on creating an opportunity, not capturing it. This is true even though how you do this discovery work is part of how you create the kind of value that allows your prospective client to prefer you over anyone else.
Opportunity capture is a different set of activities. It includes things like collaborating around what the right solution should look like, building consensus within the organization, determining the appropriate investment for the prospective client’s desired outcomes, resolving these concerns, reviewing the solution to make sure it is correct, asking for the business, and negotiating.
A lot of salespeople greatly prefer opportunity capture to opportunity creation. They prefer the activities where they are sitting with the client, asking questions, sharing ideas, and doing the work of trying to create a preference in capture the opportunity. The challenge here for this group of salespeople is that there are no opportunities to be captured if they are not first created. I’ve seen research, and I have a certain set of experiences that have caused me to believe that the person who creates the opportunity has tremendously increased their odds of capturing that opportunity. The person that guides their prospective client through both of those processes has a greater chance of being the one that is preferred as a partner, having created the opportunity in the first place, and having helped your prospective client build the case for change within their own organization
In the future, those who can create opportunities are going to be more valuable than those who are only interested in part of this of sales that is capture.
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