Turn On the Opportunity-to-Close Engine and Kick Sales Performance into Full Gear

Apr 27, 2017
3 min read
What ways can you improve overall sales performance? Learn everything you need to know about using opportunity-to-close (OTC) to improve sales performance.

In preparation for CompCloud 2017, we're featuring guest blog posts from experts in the field of compensation, sales performance, and finance. This post is brought to you by Cristina L. Wong, Content Marketing Manager at Clari. 

Improving the opportunity-to-close (OTC) process ensures your sales management and overall sales teams’ performance is running at an optimal level and that the team is in position to hit their numbers.

First of all, what does the term, “opportunity to close” mean?

The opportunity-to-close (OTC) process begins after the lead-to-opportunity (LTO) phase and before the quote-to-cash (QTC) phase. In other words, the OTC process starts when a sales rep qualifies a lead into pipeline and ends when the deal gets signed. During this time, sales reps, sales managers, and sales execs must carry the deal to the finish line — and successfully closing the deal relies on running these three processes effectively:

  1. Opportunity Management
  2. Pipeline Inspection
  3. Forecast Management

To paint a picture of how this all flows, take a look at the image below: Closing the deal process

Now, that you know what OTC is, what challenges are sales teams facing today?

Somewhere between identifying a solid prospect and getting them to sign, the end-to-end sales motion is stalling out. Here are the top challenges sales reps, sales managers and sales execs face when it comes to the opportunity-to-close process.

Sales Reps

For starters, sales reps are struggling to manage all their deals and meet their quotas — but it becomes even more cumbersome — when they’re spending most of their time entering tedious data (versus focusing on the core task of selling). With so many hours in a day, often, sales reps run out of time and fail to log all necessary data, which also negatively impacts their sales manager’s job.

Sales Managers

When it comes to sales managers, they struggle getting visibility into the health of the pipeline (what’s at risk of slipping, where is there upside opportunity). Suffice it to say, this makes it really challenging when they’re asked to call their number.

Sales Execs

Sales execs need to be able to deliver accurate forecasts to the C-suite and the board. And, they need to identify risk early if there’s a chance they’ll fall short of the company’s revenue targets.

How sales teams are fixing their OTC process today

The journey from opportunity to close is often slippery — but it doesn’t need to be — especially if your team is focused on the right opportunities and is fueled by the right technology. If you want to overcome these OTC challenges, there are three parts to the equation you need to revisit:

  • How you manage your deals from the moment they enter pipeline
  • How you inspect your pipeline
  • How you forecast

Overall, it’s important to be able to understand where your sales teams are having the most trouble in the sales process and where they are doing well. By improving the OTC process, sales reps can know where to focus, sales managers can immediately spot risk in the pipeline and execs can forecast with confidence.

“How can I learn more?”

Sales teams can get a deeper dive into the topic of opportunity to close by downloading this free eBook. If you’d like to get a hands-on learning experience and discover more about OTC, sales ops best practices, sales ops strategies and how technology fits into the equation, feel free to join us at EXCEED 2017! For more details about this unique sales ops conference, visit: http://www.clari.com/exceed  

About the Author

 Cristina L. Wong is currently the Content Marketing Manager at Clari, the leader in artificial intelligence-enabled sales technologies that address the opportunity-to-close (OTC) process. She’s worked in various industries from education, journalism, IT, B2B, B2C and sales with 5+ years in content marketing, copywriting and editing, primarily from CatapultWorks (now R2i Integrated) and LiveAction, a Cisco partner, specializing in network performance management. Cristina received her B.A. in English (Studio Art minor) from Santa Clara University.

  • Sales Performance Management
Ronald Sierra
Ronald Sierra
Content Writer

Ron Sierra is a Content Writer at Xactly. He earned a literature degree from UCSC and specializes in creating value-driven content for professionals in everything from construction to tech to sales & finance.