Chasing the Mega Deal: How to Know When a Huge Sales Opportunity is Worth Pursuing

Written by Rob Malec

Every business owner dreams about the mega sales deal that will make their year for them. It seems that these opportunities appear with some regularity, but they are not an easy fish to catch. The bigger the deal, the more the complexity, and the higher the competitive presence and downward pressure on pricing.

As such, they are less likely to fit nicely into the box that is your suite of products and services. Given their sheer magnitude they are the shiniest of shiny objects (and I’ve explained before about why chasing shiny objects isn’t a great approach to sales). In my work as a B2B Fractional VP of Sales, I counsel my clients to proceed with caution when a mega deal presents itself. Here’s why.

Why Think Twice Before Pursuing a Massive Sales Opportunity?

It’s been my experience that the complexity of mega deals requires a significant amount of upfront data-gathering, analysis, and implementation planning. Not to mention the time required to answer the myriad questions of the potential mega client and prepare formal responses and submissions.

The thing with time is that it’s a finite resource. Once it’s used up, it’s gone. Also, time put into one task means it cannot be put into another. If sales resources are limited and significant time is spent on large, complex deals that might not fit into your box, that time cannot be spent by your sales team looking for other deals that may fit readily into your programs and scale nicely in the future.

The downward pressure on prices and margins is to be strongly considered. The potential, of say, doubling your annual revenue is certainly alluring. However, if it costs you $1.05 to service every $1.00 of the new business then it’s significantly less appealing.

This is not to say that mega deals are not ever worth pursuing. Winning them can be a game-changer. It is to say, however, that careful consideration should be given to whether or not pursuing a huge sales opportunity will be a profitable venture and worth the considerable time and effort required to go after it. Just because you can pursue it, does not necessarily mean that you should.

5 Questions to Determine Whether a Mega Sales Opportunity Is Worth It 

Here are some questions you can ask your sales team to determine whether it makes sense to pursue a mega opportunity in front of you:

  1. What is the effort estimate (in hours) for how long it would take to source, interview, narrow down, and select any special partners/suppliers/required new staff/machinery/resources to deliver on this deal, should you win it?

If large and complex deals don’t fit within your current suite of products and services, you may need to tool up and bring on partners and suppliers to help in doing so. Consider all the moving parts and put together your estimate of how much time would take to do so.

  1. What is the effort estimate (in hours) of how long it would take to work out the logistics of implementing and rolling out the project?

It may be that this mega sales opportunity stretches your resources and requires your team to do new things, or old things in new ways. What level of planning is required to meet the demands?

  1. What is the effort estimate (in hours) of how long it would take to prepare the bid/application and other paperwork?

Often these large projects are part of an RFP-bid process. Yours may be governmentally related. Often there is detailed documentation that must be responded to or submitted to be considered as a supplier. Scope this out to determine how much time it will take your team.

  1. What is the realistic/conservative revenue and profit margin related to this mega deal?

Calculate this monthly, quarterly, and annually. If you need to procure materials and partners and pay for them upfront, don’t forget to include that when you’re crunching your numbers.

  1. What is the realistic (conservative) percent chance you have of winning this deal?

Be brutally honest here. If this sales opportunity is large there are likely many competitors who are well-positioned (maybe more so than your company) to win the bid.

Answering these questions will help you understand the time and resource commitment required up front to put in a serious bid for the work. If you have the team, time, and resources to commit to preparing and submitting the bid, and your chances of winning are reasonable, then proceeding would make sense.

If going after a mega sales opportunity would drown your team and pull them away from servicing existing customers and finding new ones that fit nicely into your suite of products and services, maybe proceeding does not make sense.

As with all things, there’s a great deal of nuance involved in applying the principles noted above. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected].

Top 6 Reasons to Hire a Sales Coach

Written by Rob Malec

Using a sales coach might seem counterintuitive when the sales team reports directly to the business owner or sales manager. Consider a sales coach to be a force multiplier with a clearly identifiable ROI. If you want to increase revenue generation rapidly, then it’s time to engage the services of a sales coach.

Why Use a Sales Coach?

Here are a few specific signs to look out for when trying to answer the question, ‘Do I need to hire a sales coach?’.

  1. The Business Owner is too Busy to Coach

If you are an early-stage business, it is likely you don’t have a sales manager. It’s also likely that you are wearing ten different hats and working eight days a week. Fires crop up, shiny objects appear, and you get pulled in many different directions on a minute-by-minute basis.

Effective sales coaching requires prep time, in-session focus, and post-session follow-up. Despite best intentions, overstretched business owners often just don’t have the bandwidth to apply to this task. It’s important to know when you need a sales manager.

  1. The Sales Manager is too Busy to Coach

You may wonder, isn’t it the sales manager’s job to coach? Technically, yes. Practically, it can be a challenge. Much like the business owner, the sales manager may also be pulled in many directions.

Marketing, production, delivery, and accounting all vie for simultaneous attention – and may have been folded into the sales manager’s job role description. To some degree, knowing how to set your sales manager up for success can help. Even if you do so, rising sales team headcounts make coaching tough to accomplish. Beyond a head count of five salespeople, any sales manager is hard-pressed to meet their minimum weekly coaching goals.

  1. Sales Managers May Lack Proven Methodology and Processes to be Effective Sales Coaches

The newly minted sales manager may be new to their role and still cutting their teeth. Identifying a sticking point with a salesperson or a sales process element is one thing but creating and seamlessly integrating an elegant solution is another.

Even experienced sales managers may not have all systems and processes documented. The absence of this infrastructure makes effective sales coaching difficult. It becomes tips and tactics focused rather than process & methodology focused. This results in the need for sales process and methodology training to be procured, which can be expensive.

  1. Sales Managers and Business Owners May Not Be Good Teachers

We have all had excellent teachers in our lifetime – that person who “reaches us” and helps us break through a plateau. We have all also had teachers who were patently unsuccessful at doing so – and you’ve probably felt the frustration of investing time that you will never get back into a learning experience.

It’s often the case that the high-performing salesperson is promoted to sales manager. The logic is that because they can perform well, they can teach it to others. This logic is flawed. Because someone is a solid performer does not mean they are a good teacher or even enjoy teaching. Learning how to be an excellent sales teacher is necessary to get the coaching results you desire.

  1. The Sales Team May Need More Bandwidth Than Those Parties Have Available to Commit

There are ways to be effective and efficient when implementing sales coaching. However, it is still time intensive. If the sales team is green, they will need a significant amount of coaching time in order to ramp up their productivity.

If the product or solution being sold is complex, the team will need focused attention being given to sales strategy creation learning. If ownership or sales management are busy in the ways outlined above, the time they have available to put into sales coaching simply may not be enough.

  1. You Can’t Be a Prophet in Your Own House

You may have one of your team members come to you with a great new idea they heard from someone outside the organization, which turns out to be the exact same idea you had given them ten times before!

Objectivity and sound thinking packaged in a new way can be exciting and invigorating for a sales team. When sound ideas come from outside the organization, they have a level of street cred that homegrown ideas are not always afforded. This is yet another reason to hire a sales coach.

Is Sales Coaching Expensive?

Engaging the services of a sales coach does not need to be expensive. There are all manner of sales coaches to meet just about every learning need and training budget. Given the ROI on sales coaching services is so easily measured, you will quickly see if your investment is returning dividends.

You may even consider using a sales coach whose compensation is directly tied to the revenue the sales team generates. Such a commission program is natural, provides a clear incentive for all parties, and makes your sales coaching arrangement self-funding.

In my role as a Fractional VP of Sales, I’ve seen how effective sales coaching can transform businesses into predictable revenue-generating machines. If you’d like to discuss how sales coaching might be helpful for your organization, please feel free to contact me.

4 Tips to Level Up Your Business Development

Written by Rob Malec

Chances are that you have been working for years to get your company to its current level of annual revenue generation. Now, you want to double that number in just one year. Where do you start? The short answer is to focus on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your business development.

As a Fractional VP Sales and Sales Coach, I’ve helped several companies achieve this growth goal. For this to become your reality, your revenue generation engine must be built to fill the sales funnel and move deals through it to closure.

What is the Role of Business Development in a Company?

Setting up the business development function is the key to transforming your business into a revenue-generation machine. Business development in this context means all processes related to filling the top of the sales funnel with quality leads that have a high probability of converting into paying customers. This includes researching new market opportunities, attracting new clients, making sales projections, and more.

How to Improve Your Business Development Efficiency and Effectiveness

Here are 4 simple yet effective ways to level up your business development.

Business Development Tip 1: Invest in SEO Optimization

By now, all business owners have heard about the importance of SEO optimization even if they have not yet harnessed its power. SEO optimization is the first place to start for business development because it takes at least 12 months to get your website found by your target audience.

This is a long-term strategy but will ultimately become the most cost-effective way to ensure that your potential customers find you when they need you. After all, your website works for you 24/7 while you sleep to bring you leads.

Business Development Tip 2: Choose Your CRM Wisely

Once SEO optimization is underway, turn your attention to your CRM. The CRMs on the market today have all manner of plug-ins and outbound marketing tools that will help you reach out to prospects effectively and efficiently.

If you are not currently using a CRM, select one that will help you meet your goals. If you are using a CRM, confirm that it will continue to serve you well in the future. There are countless options, so choose wisely.

Business Development Tip 3: Compile a Lead List and Develop a System for Contacting Them

Purchasing lead lists for outbound lead generation is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Web scraping tools like ZoomInfo allow you to build quality lead lists that are current and accurate. As with CRMs, there are many options, so choose wisely.

With your lead list in hand, work with your sales team to set the cadence and content for reaching out to prospects. Create email templates and use email marketing automation to reach out to them electronically before making any phone calls. This way you are making warm calls rather than cold calls. Use workflow automation within your CRM to set up task reminders and lead scoring so that every lead is given is chance to convert into a viable deal opportunity.

Business Development Tip 4: Use KPIs to Track Weekly Performance

Finally, set and track key metrics for measuring and improving business growth. Do this by assessing weekly targets against appropriate business development KPIs. Managing these numbers as important as it leads to iteration and process improvement, which will ultimately lead to a fuller sales funnel.

Some examples of common business development KPIs include deals won (broken down by repeat clients vs. new clients, geographic locations, market sectors, and more), customer retention rates, and customer acquisition cost, among others. Select the KPIs that make the most sense for you.

There is a great depth of detail to work through when setting up your business development function. If you would like to discuss specifics around how to do this, I would be happy to help. Please feel free to reach out to me directly.

How to Inspire Peak Performance in a High-Performing Sales Team

Written by Rob Malec

Your sales team has been absolutely crushing it for 3 years and running. Does this mean it’s time to sit back and relax knowing they’ve got things under control? On the contrary, you want to focus on encouraging a high-performing sales team to continually improve to achieve peak performance.

How to Motivate Already High-Performing Salespeople to Achieve Peak Performance

As a Fractional VP Sales and Sales Coach, I have been presented with this happy challenge many times. When a sales team has been over-performing for several years in a row, the forward-thinking business owner knows that complacency is always lurking in the weeds.

To do nothing and hope for the best only to have complacency rear its ugly head would be a poor choice. Yet, there is always a fear of upsetting the apple cart and the feeling that it might be better to do nothing and hope the revenue curve keeps going up and to the right.

It has been my direct experience that doing nothing is a bad option. Complacency will ultimately set in even among your best salespeople. Or your top performers will feel they have hit the ceiling of their growth at your company and decide to move on. Here are a few things you can consider if you are in the enviable position to have a well-tenured, high-performing sales team to help them reach peak performance.

Examine Your Compensation Program

Does your compensation arrangement incentivize the right behaviour in your salespeople? Will it serve your company well into the future, or does it reflect behaviours that were correct five years ago?

Consider adjusting your compensation program to financially motivate your salespeople to continue bringing in the type of business that will increase sales and drive revenue growth in the years to come. If compensation is capped, consider uncapping it so that the team can increase their income if they bring in the right amount and type of revenue.

Educate Your Salespeople (Including Thinking Outside of the Box)

Top performers continually want to sharpen their saw. Not sure what kind of training would benefit both them and your business? Ask them what types of skills or knowledge development they would like that they believe will help them to sell more.

Strongly consider offering access to training outside of sales platform skills. Storytelling, improv, and mindfulness training are examples of subject matter that will positively impact your team’s sales abilities, despite not being specifically focused on the sales function. When you’re dealing with top performers, you need to expand your horizons to help them reach peak performance.

Talk About Achieving Peak Performance

Achieving peak performance levels and working towards mastery is an honourable pursuit in and of itself. People who are not challenged get bored. The road to complacency is paved with boredom.

A quick Google of “peak performance” will give you more information and training options than you can digest related to getting on the path to mastery. Choose the one that’s right for your team and start to walk down the path together.

There is a significant amount to consider when determining the best way to energize an already high-performing sales team to increase sales. If you would like some insight into how, please feel free to reach out to me directly.