Focus on Generating Opportunities not Leads


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Lead Generation is thought to be key, to the survival of any B2B Company, a reason why B2B companies across the world, spend billions of precious dollars and resources on finding Leads – they buy, they capture, they generate, they do everything possible to keep their sales funnels’ filled with Leads.

What is Lead generation? Does this activity really justify the amount of money and time spent on it? Is it really Leads that these companies are looking for?

If we go by theory – Wikipedia defines Lead Generation as a marketing term that refers to the creation or generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiry into a business’ products or services

The Marketing Automation solutions further simplify this definition to widen their Leads base and count every Enterprise visitor as a Lead. Companies then spend time and resources to qualify and nurture these leads, which may or may not convert into a sale.

What most of these companies fail to realize is that it is not Lead Generation that is key to their survival but Opportunity generation. Yes! – The opportunity to sell.

Opportunity generation can be defined as the creation or generation of Sale Opportunities for a Business’ Products or services.

It is finding these opportunities to sell, which is critical to a company’s survival and not Leads. A company can have thousands of Leads in its sales pipeline but those that will really make a difference to the company’s balance sheet – are the ones which present the company with an opportunity to sell its offerings.

B2B companies should concentrate more on generating opportunities than leads, they should clearly understand that -only leads which offer an opportunity to sell are worth their time and investments, worth pursuing.

Opportunity generation and not just Lead Generation should be the focus of B2B companies for the following reasons –

Optimization of Resources

Knowing who you want as your customer will help you remain focused and also in staying away from wasting your resources on leads and prospects who may never convert. The lesser resources you spend on useless leads, the more you will have to invest in generating real sale opportunities.

Reality check

Opportunities are those prospects who have shown real interest in your product and an intent to buy the kind of solution you offer, from you or from one of your competitors. Since they are looking for a similar solution the chances of them converting into a sale is much higher than a regular lead who is yet to decide on what he wants. If you target on sending only real opportunities down your sales funnel, the percentage of opportunities converting to sales will be much higher, these are prospects who have already expressed their intent and concentrating all your efforts in going after them surely holds more promise. Such strict screening will ensure that you are always in touch with reality – knowing exactly where you stand when it comes to counting your eggs before they hatch (projecting your sales figures).

Better alignment between Sales and Marketing

Your sales is very focused on creating sales opportunities, once your marketing is also tuned to do the same – there will be no reason for the disconnect between the two departments. One will attract your core group of ideal customers and the other will help them buy your product and services.

Shorter Sales Cycles

Today B2B companies go through a prolonged sales cycle because – many of the Leads they nurture – are either undecided or have not explicitly expressed their real interest in the company’s product. They visit the website, do the research and then go cold. Companies spend several thousands of man-hours pursuing such leads, in a desperate bid to get a positive response. Since in the initial phase the lead had shown some interest, they find it difficult to even trash such a lead – the result, the persuasion and process of selling to a customer starts much before – the customer even thinks of a purchase, making the entire process lengthy, for the company.

In the case of opportunities the customer is ready to make a purchase – the only time he spends is in deciding which solution vendor to go with. If a vendor approaches the company at this stage and assists them in the decision making process – the sales cycles are bound to be shorter and the responses more positive.

Higher Return on Investment

Generating opportunities requires much focused efforts. Since the conversion ratio for opportunities is higher than that of Leads, the return on investments for a company generating sale opportunities is much higher than those generating just leads. Also, the money and resources spent on converting an opportunity into sale is much lesser than that of converting a lead, which in many cases is a lengthy and futile exercise.

The process of opportunity generation starts the moment you decide on your target customers.

Marketing activities should then be split into creating brand awareness in general and into creating focused campaigns for the target customer segment – addressing the challenges in their industry for which you offer a solution. The more focussed and customized the messaging when reaching out to your core segment the higher the chances of getting people with real intent to buy.

A Lead is worth its find – only if translates into a sale opportunity.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Merlin Francis
Merlin Francis is Director of Communications for LeadFormix. Merlin has over a decade of combined experience in the field of print and television Media, PR and Corporate communications. This includes her 3 year stint as an entrepreneur running a successful public relations and event management consultancy.


  1. You’re absolute right, Merlin! We just switched to a new sales force automation software called Landslide. They differentiate leads from opportunities so that it’s really easy to get visibility on exactly which prospects in the pipeline are ready to buy.

    Whether you use a push or pull marketing strategy, however, it’s still up to someone in the organization to qualify the “opportunity” as there are a lot of “leads” who will pose as opportunities to get the information they want. Salespeople are, by nature, optimistic. So to keep them on track, it’s important to train them to qualify leads and then it’s up to the manager to continually question whether or not the opportunity is sufficiently qualified to justify spending further time or whether the opportunity is really a lead that should be passed back to marketing for further development.


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