Managing sales opportunities in the pipeline

The S/POS* continuum of sales opportunities:

How to recognize and classify the probability of success

To optimize your business, expand your activities and thus increase your profits, exploiting your existing relationships is a promising approach.

You can already find various tips for your relationship management. For this, consider the characteristics of an ideal account manager and follow the 10 commandments I have already described in the communication with your clients. You will also learn in my blog how to maintain your account properly and stay up to date. Furthermore, you will learn the difference between Price Clients and Relationship Clients and how to convince with articulated or implied knowledge.

But also the acquisition of new customers serves to achieve the company's objectives. Opportunity Management and Pipeline Management serve this purpose.


A sales pipeline is a summary of all sales opportunities that a sales representative, business unit or company is pursuing with the aim of closing deals. A more detailed definition of the pipeline and a classification of its meaning can be found in this blog.

In the pipeline, you list relevant information in a clear and concise manner. The following screen shows an example of a summary. This includes the name, product, and description of the client, as well as the start date, the current date, and the stage or status of the process.

The most important points are additionally highlighted. What value does a sales opportunity bring you, what is the closing date and what is the probability of success?


The so-called S/POS continuum helps to classify the significance of the sales opportunities. S stands for the stage, i.e. the status of the process. POS is the abbreviation of Probability of Success. It is used to classify the status of the continuum in relation to the probability of success.

Accordingly, there are five different probabilities ranging from unlikely over 50/50 to very likely. The stages of the process run from the recognition and identification of the need through project start, qualification, bid preparation and BAFO to the verbal order and the final project win.

The more advanced the process is, the more likely it should be successful, so that it is a relevant and promising opportunity. On the right hand side of the diagram you will find the minimum total number of points needed to not drop out of the process.

If the probability of success lies in the Zone of Despair, i.e. is not high enough, it is not worth investing further in the opportunity, regardless of its value.