chasing dealsShould I chase this deal or not? Whether you’re a sales VP, sales manager, sales rep or even inside sales person, this question comes up (or at least should come up) regularly. But unfortunately, there’s no “silver bullet” way to answer it. Perhaps if we had all the time in the world, then we could chase every deal that comes our way. We could rate every opportunity the same, and put the same effort into each prospect knowing that eventually, we’d score the deal.

But we don’t have all the time in the world. More than ever, we need to be smart about the deals we pursue. We need to focus sales efforts on highly probable, winnable business. Sales people can’t afford another year like last year (check out this infographic on lack of sales productivity). Increased sales effectiveness means focusing on high potential deals. Easier said than done, right? Well, yes; but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.

One of the items in my toolkit that helps me in this area is the 18 Minute Assessment. It’s a sales tool that quickly helps determine the legitimacy of a potential deal. I’ve used it over the years, and it’s amazing how effective it is. Feel free to try it out by running some recently closed deals, as well as lost deals through the assessment. And if this particular tool doesn’t work for you, then use it as a basis for developing an “Opportunity Assessment” process. Doing so will go a long way to increasing sales productivity.

Instructions: Circle one answer per question. Count up the total number of RED answers.  Use the chart below to determine the closing probability percentage.

1.       Did this opportunity come from a current client?      (If yes, skip to 6) Y N
2.       Does a personal relationship exist at all?  Who? Y N NA
3.       Was (your company) recommended by someone? Who? Y N NA
4.       Did the opportunity come as a follow up to an (your company) project? Y N NA
5.       Did the project come in “aided” after a sales presentation, or promotion? Y N NA
6.       Are we in a multiple-bid scenario with other firms?  How many? N Y DK
7.       Do we know the competition? Y N DK
8.       Is this opportunity being decided by a single multiple decision maker(s)? S M DK
9.       Do we have internal expertise in their industry? Y N
10.   Do we have any experience or experiential knowledge of their industry? Y N
11.   Do we already know how to do what is being requested in this opportunity? Y N
12.   Can we successfully deliver on this opportunity without outside help? Y N
13.   Are the lead-times/timeframes acceptable with the current workload? Y N
14.   Is there a budget for this opportunity? What is it? Y N
15.   Will this budget allow for an appropriate level of profit? Y N DK
16.   Can we be the low price? Y N DK
17.   Do we offer perceived value or uniqueness over the competition? Y N
18.   Given the risk (time, $, reputation), do we want this opportunity?  Why? Y N
19.   Is there an alternative motive for us in responding to this opportunity? Y N
20.   Will we have an opportunity to present the quote/proposal in person? Y N
21.   Are there any certifications/credentials that will give us an advantage? Y N

How long (hours) will it take to develop this quote/proposal?   0-8     8-15     16-24     25+

What are the out-of-pocket costs to develop this quote/proposal?   $0-99     $100-300     $301 – 500     $500+

RED = ________

0-2 = 70%+ Probability

3-4 = 45-69% Probability

5-6 = 20-44% Probability

7-8 = 5-19% Probability

9+ = 0-5% Probability0-5

Given the above probability, should we dedicate the resources to pursuing this opportunity?  Y or N