There has lately been an attempt to differentiate overall sales in to various broad sectors: territory management, account management, call management and opportunity management. These all certainly have their own sales techniques, issues, peculiarities, and solutions—but not only does the last of these, opportunity management, fully embrace the rest of them, but underlies them and makes them successful or not.
The field of territory management deals with the handling of all the customers and prospects within a certain territory. It is often performed by one salesperson or sometimes with a senior salesperson and several assistants. It is almost always a case of too many customers or prospects assigned to too few people—hence the need for a solid organizing methodology for a territory.
How does opportunity management fit in? Especially with too many accounts and not enough people to fully deal with them, there must be rapid methods of prioritizing who should be called or visited, when, how often, and why. It would include what products (or more of the same) they should purchase next. All of this is data that should be accessible on the fly as a sales rep is traveling.
Account management has been defined primarily as the consistent address of your customer’s business needs with your company’s products and services. Of course, when this is done well you will always have a customer.
Opportunity management very heavily underlies account management—for a vital part of opportunity management is having all possible information gathered and available for each of your prospects as they move along the sales pipeline. If this has been adequately done in each case with each client, a salesperson will only have to reference this data in managing of accounts.
Opportunity management well done means that accounts are automatically prioritized so that a salesperson doesn’t have to sort out which account to call next, what action should be taken with them, or dig around to find out where they lie in the sales process.
Call management consists of all of the technologies and methods dealing with salespeople who are calling (phoning) prospects and customers. It includes automated dialing applications, applications for bypassing voicemail (allowing the rep to not to have to actually get on the phone if a live person doesn’t answer) and many others.
Call management also takes into account the best frequency for reaching out to a customer or prospect, and the sequence of actions to be taken call-by-call. It would also include preparation for the call and what is done afterward to document a call.
It can be readily seen that none of these high-end solutions will improve sales much at all if a proven opportunity management system has not been implemented. Opportunity management means that the person doing the calling—no matter with what system—is well versed on his or her prospect’s buying patterns, knows the next step of the sales process, understands the issues the prospect is trying to solve, and much more.
CRM Solution Foundation in Opportunity Management
While opportunity management is underlying all of these various sales techniques, it is a leading-edge CRM solution that is the foundation the type of opportunity management we’ve been describing. Without such a foundation, a rapid and easy performance of opportunity management—in all its various forms—will not be possible.
The lesson to be learned is that you must develop the basic sales techniques of your opportunity management first and foremost. It is the solid foundation upon which territory management, account management, call management or any other system is built.
What should your foundational CRM solution consist of? Find out here.