I thought I’d write a little more about the differences that distinguish
suspects from prospects, prospects from opportunities,
opportunities from deals and deals from clients.
1. SUSPECTS qualify for the minimum investment from you:
This is someone who, because of their position or membership of a Decision Making Unit (DMU) in a segment that you suspect experiences the (big enough to invest) problem that drives demand for your service. Or perhaps their circumstances make it likely that they mayexperience this problem in the not too distant future. Any person who you SUSPECT COULD buy your service is a Suspect.
SUSPECTS progress to be A PROSPECT
2. If she has made contact with you and she seems to agree that this maybe a problem and you may have a role in it’s solution. A quick definition is that there is a Prospect or Chance that the problem may be discovered or brought out into the open at some point in the future. Your role maybe simply to PROSPECT (as in prospecting for gold!) with the person to discover the problem
The PROSPECT progresses to an OPPORTUNITY
3. When she confirms that her company is experiencing your big-enough-to-invest problem. There may well be an opportunity for you to influence or write the initial specification for the desired solution and all that this does to your chances of winning the later deal.
NB**Nothing in the above 3 categories should ever be forecast in any future review of possible business meeting
The OPPORTUNITY progresses to a DEAL
4. A working definition of a DEAL is where the person or company will “Buy something (that you can supply) from someone in the next business period (month / qtr / yr)”
This is evidenced by the fact that your contact reveals that the Cost of Doing Nothing in her informed opinion is too high to ignore
She concludes that the company must take action to solve the problem
She actively helps you identify and engage the other decision stakeholders
Until all these things happen, please don’t list this as a “DEAL”.
Up until this point you should not invest any major amount of time into your Sales Funnel except to write outline specs for your solutions.
However once at this point your Business Development processes and skills should kick into high gear to close this DEAL.
5. Obviously, a CLIENT is someone who has hired you.
Each of these 5 states in your Sales Funnel have a different value.
Each justifies a different investment level and different actions from you.
If you have comments or questions please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org