In the world of business development, a “lost opportunity” is a sales lead that could not have been closed for a multitude of reasons. The tender could have been canceled, a competitor may have won it, or the owner simply lost interest after realizing how much the requested product or service will end up costing.
Whatever the reasons may be, it’s a frustrating experience for you, the business developer. But it doesn’t mean that all your efforts were in vain. There are still a number of actions you can take to make the best out of the situation.
Writing proposals takes a lot of time and effort. It would be a shame to waste it all, whether a particular lead was won or lost. It’s a safe bet to assume that a similar opportunity will arise in the future. So what you want to do is start archiving all your proposals for future references (and recycling purposes), so that it’ll take you less and less time and effort to spin out proposals in the future.
Capitalize on the Business Intelligence
During the negotiation process, you’ve learned a lot about the lead. You have a pristine understanding of what their challenges are, how they like to deal with service suppliers, what their budgets are like, and lots of other information that can give you a considerable competitive advantage in the future. To make sure this information remains readily available when the time comes you need it, you must maintain meticulous records not only for yourself, but the entire team. Your CRM solution will be your tool of choice here.
Feed the Marketing Machine
The intelligence you have on record now can play a critical role in implementing content-sensitive marketing campaigns. Say you have a number of proposals that never came through for lack of budgets available. You learn of a new fund that supports local companies to partially finance their management consulting needs, and which happens to include the service you’ve been proposing. What you want to do now is market extensively the availability of this fund in conjunction with your proposed services. The opportunities are virtually unlimited here, and your marketing people can generate quite an amount of business from previously lost opportunities.
Keep the Doors open
You may have lost the opportunity for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you cannot recruit the client in the future. It becomes of essence now to maintain continuous contact so the lead doesn’t forget about you. You also need to keep your records updated in terms of who the important people at that organization, and get acquainted with new staff members who might become important in the future. Again, you need a solid CRM solution for this. And if you do a decent job, the next time they issue a tender and you are a bidder, everybody who matters is familiar and comfortable with your brand, which will take you a long way by then.
So whenever a particular lead doesn’t work out, look at it from the bright side and make the best out of the lessons you learned. As time goes by, you’ll have accumulated an immense wealth in knowledge that will make your job in bringing in new business easier and easier. A word of advice though; always make sure that anyone involved in the process is documenting information and records. People tend to forget things, or even worse, move on to other companies and become inaccessible. It’ll be a real shame to waste all this knowledge simply because it hasn’t been written down somewhere.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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