9
May

Six Valuable Insights For Improving Sales Close Rates

By Evan Klein

Get to the heart of the decision making process with Sales Win/Loss insights.

As business leaders we’re constantly seeking opportunities to increase sales effectiveness or learn how to better convey the value proposition of our products or services. There are many factors involved in the sales process and they typically go well beyond the frequent pricing or budget objections.  Using subjective feedback from the sales team or forming our own theories often fails to establish the true factors leading to a purchase decision.

For gathering actionable intelligence to improve sales results, the Sales Win/Loss Analysis is one of the most enlightening activities you can undertake. By leveraging deep insights into decision drivers, you can confidently duplicate successes and learn from missteps and, in the process, discover vital industry trends. Take for example the valuable insights our one-on-one interviews with key decision have uncovered for our clients. In one circumstance a client discovered they failed to win a lucrative deal because the prospect wasn’t aware of their full product portfolio. In another case, it was revealed that target customers consistently believed the company was “too big” as a result of overselling their work with larger brands in pitch presentations.

How can a Sales Win/Loss Analysis help transform your sales organization?

1) Uncover Market Perception – Do you know how your target audience views competitors? Even more important, how do they view you? A skillfully conducted interview provides the perfect opportunity to discover emerging trends in the market and seeks to gather unbiased feedback regarding market perception. Truth be told, an independent interviewer is much more likely to obtain candid feedback.  Plus, using experts who know when to probe and ask follow-up questions often uncovers interesting – and sometimes very actionable – nuggets of information. Our clients routinely use this valuable insight to change how they engage with target customers to improve competitive win ratios.

2) Assess Value Proposition – Many companies struggle to communicate their unique differentiators. As passionate business leaders, it’s difficult to understand why prospective clients aren’t thrilled to have the opportunity to work with us! The Sales Win/Loss Analysis helps determine exactly which aspects of your pitch resonate most with your target audience. Hearing precisely what prospective buyers think of your offering and its benefits will enable you to refine your approach and better align with the needs of the market.

3) Identify Effective Lead Generation Strategies – Marketing spend can eat up a huge chunk of your operational budget. And while marketing most likely has a good understanding of how clients are being found, they may not always know which avenues have the greatest influence on prospects, and therefore the best return on marketing dollars. Even more enlightening – discovering how your competitors find leads! With useful feedback from decision makers, our clients have successfully re-directed budgets toward areas proven to generate the most qualified leads.

4) Reveal Specific Decision Making Criteria – There are many reasons your company may be selected or passed over in favor of a competitor. Was it relevant experience, a cultural fit, differentiated approach, pricing, sales team effectiveness, flexibility, client references or case studies? Which factors contributed the most and which were secondary considerations? Reflecting on the specific reasons you win or lose deals should, over time, generate internal discussions about adjusting your positioning and sales strategy.

5) Discover Fee Structure – Competing on price is something most companies desperately try to avoid. Yet, we all want to know how we rank (higher, lower, the same) against competitors and beat them. While some decision makers refuse to disclose competitor pricing, a well-executed interview can still show how you stack up to inform pricing strategies.

6) Review Sales Team Performance – The Sales Win/Loss Analysis also goes beyond pipeline reports and takes a closer look at the connection prospects have with people. One recent interview we conducted revealed the significant influence a sales person can have, “Their business development person could have been selling us marshmallows and we would have signed up. He was that amazing. He said everything we wanted to hear and he blew everyone out of the water.” Who are the most effective sales people in your company? Once you identify the qualities that makes them so successful, you can inform and train other team members and, hopefully, repeat their successes. Also, remember to continually share stories to further galvanize your business development efforts.

Sales Win/Loss programs offer many advantages. From identifying aspects of your message missing the mark to discovering new competitive insights to uncovering the most effective sales techniques, a well-executed Sales Win/Loss Analysis can help you reach your growth objectives.