The cycle of opportunity planning: Overview and Background

How to recognize and promote your opportunities: The Cycle of Opportunity Planning

An important element of your business development is the correct handling of your opportunities. A professional opportunity plan goes through a typical cycle to successfully combine overview, qualification, decision, positioning and strategy as well as relationship management.

The entire process is based on three questions that an experienced salesman first asks himself with regard to his opportunities: How much? How soon? How sure?

The opportunity planning cycle

Opportunity Management starts with an overview and a basic understanding of the potential projects and mandates. This blog post is dedicated to these first steps of planning.

For a structured and comprehensive overview, there are various points you need to consider. Create a table that you fill with information thoroughly. List the client, the project, volumes, sales targets, strategic benefits, resource need, date of completion and responsible account managers. You should also analyze the project environment for your preparation.

In order to be able to classify the relevance of the opportunity at first glance, the answers to the following questions will help you:

  • What are the components of the solution/project?
  • What potential do we have after the initial order?
  • Do we need an investment?
  • What is a realistic final target?

This gives you a meaningful overview that you can always refer back to in the planning cycle. Next, you specify the background for the professional management of your opportunities. A comprehensive analysis contains seven points:

    7 points

  • #1
    Client profile
  • #2
    Key market drivers
  • #3
    The client's intentions
  • #4
    The people involved
  • #5
    Program structure
  • #6
  • #7
    Project contribution.

Various questions will help you in the development of the customer profile. Exactly which questions are relevant for your opportunity depends on the project and the client. You can also read here how to create a relevant company profile.

  • Which solution does the company offer to whom?
  • How strong is the current competitive position of the company?
  • Do we know the core experiences of the last two years?
  • What upcoming trends does the company have to deal with?
  • With which partners does the company maintain a relationship?

To identify the market drivers, question the strategic goals of the company and its fields of action. Find out what internal and external burdens the project is based on, which circumstances generate the most pressure and which specific problems are to be solved in this project.

Of course, the budget also depends on the financial situation of your client. What is important for you is how strongly the company is positioned, how high the cash flow and profit are. What are the relevant key figures that the management uses? How are your successes measured?

Whether a concrete budget already exists or is decided flexibly also plays a role in Opportunity Planning. If you know the budgeting process and its rules, you have an advantage.

Further key questions that support you in a structured analysis are: What does the customer want to do, when and why? What are his goals? Who initiated the project? How is the project related to the company's goals?

Write down all questions and work thoroughly right from the beginning. Collect as much information as possible to know and understand your opportunity to the best of your ability.

Only by taking the time to address each step of the opportunity planning cycle with the right questions and information can you optimize your management and focus your efforts, capacities and resources on the relevant opportunities.