12 Critical Questions Sales Leaders Must Ask
by Mike Schultz & John Doerr
Build a consistent, repeatable process for managing
important sales opportunities and improving win rates.
Optimizing Sales Opportunity Management
“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they
won was over themselves…self-discipline with all of them came first.”
Harry S. Truman
If you’ve spent any time in complex, businessto-business sales, you know there's been
a significant shift in how you create sales
opportunities, win sales opportunities, and
grow accounts. More sellers are missing
quota, sales cycles are extending, buyers
are more sophisticated and informed, more
buyers are involved in every purchase, and the
competition isn’t exactly standing aside to make
your life easy.
You know how tough it is.
Yet, while some are struggling to keep up,
others are finding consistent success. We’ve
researched and published extensively about
how sales conversations need to change if
sellers want to find themselves winning sales
and beating their goals (Fig. 1). While many
organizations are finding increased success by
changing their approach to sales conversations,
few have yet to address serious issues with how
they manage sales opportunities.
Sales leaders are now starting to take notice.
In The Top-Performing Sales Organization
study, 40% of respondents said “Improving
sales opportunity approach and planning” is
a top priority for the next year.1 Along with
two related initiatives—improving ability to
communicate value (41%) and optimizing sales
processes (32%)—these represented three of the
top four priorities altogether.
These are good priorities, because selling isn't
getting any easier. Here are some observations
gleaned from our client work and through the
RAIN Group Center for Sales Research:
Buyers are less patient. If sellers don’t