Sales Project Management

Bill Rust

When you hear the word “management” associated with sales, you probably think about pipelines, territories, accounts, or sales teams. How about managing a sales opportunity as a project?

Managing a sales opportunity as a project could help to reduce risks and increase the probability of success. If we can accept the definition of project management as applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to help achieve a goal; then, in order to decide if managing a sales opportunity as a project makes sense, we need to understand if a sales pursuit can be classified as a project or not.

A generally accepted definition of a project goes something like this: a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. A sales opportunity is not an ongoing operation; it is temporary. Effectively managing the sales cycle can help reduce the frustration caused by the feeling that there is no end in sight. Even for a longer sales cycle, such as that for a sale of a complex enterprise software solution, there is a definite end: when the deal is either won or lost. A salesperson offering a solution that is differentiated by the product or by associated services, such as support, then that solution is unique.

In exploring this idea of sales project management during the past couple of years, I have often been asked if I think sales pursuits are…

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