I believe that most companies fail to capture powerful insights that should be acquired from the sales process. The opportunity is often squandered, largely because what’s learned after you win or lose a sale isn’t shared beyond a salesperson or the sales leader.
Understandably, most sales teams are laser-focused on generating revenue by closing deals, and they can’t afford to be distracted. Their very livelihood depends on them keeping their eyes on the prize. But if closing more deals is the goal, then executives should not only welcome a deeper understanding of why deals are won or lost, they should demand it.
Bottom line – it simply doesn’t make sense to waste this immense learning opportunity.
How to Improve Sales Performance
As the founder of Satrix Solutions, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many executives since our inception 10 years ago. I’m often surprised to learn how few companies capitalize on what I believe is a veritable treasure trove of actionable insights that can (and SHOULD) drive the business forward.
In this blog series, I will detail the information I feel every company should strive to gather from the sales process, how it should be acquired, who in the organization should be leveraging it, and – importantly – the benefits your business will experience by systematically incorporating this feedback into your decision-making process.
Valuable Business Insights from The Sales Process
Let’s begin with the wealth of knowledge that can be obtained. First, I think we can all agree that the evaluation process a potential customer goes through varies greatly. But, consider a common scenario, whereby the prospect conducts a request for proposal (RFP), culls down a broad list of potential vendors to the 3 or 5 they feel have the best offering, then works through an in-person pitch, demo, proof of concept, pilot, etc. before selecting a winner.
In this situation, the buyer likely has a scorecard of some kind, with weightings or grades they’ve assigned your company and your competitors across a range of considerations. Assuming you made the final round, they’ve reviewed your RFP response, spent time with your team, evaluated your product or service, assessed your advantages, listened to you highlight your differentiators, compared your pricing to others, likely spoken with other customers, and probably asked their colleagues for their recommendations.
Now, how valuable would it be for you to get your hands on this information?
If you were able to insert a thumb drive into the brain of the decision-maker(s) and export everything they learned from the exhaustive evaluation process, you would have a compelling competitive advantage, right?
What Factors Influence B2B Buying Decisions
Whether you ultimately won or lost the deal, acquiring insight into all of the decision drivers – what worked in your company’s favor, what worked against you, and what really didn’t factor into the final decision – that knowledge would be powerful.
Now, imagine exporting those same insights from a dozen potential buyers, or a hundred. You would now have access to prominent themes related to all the key ingredients in the evaluation and selection process. You would be able to gain a deeper understanding of important insights like:
- How your company is found or identified and included for consideration
- How your message and brand positioning is resonating with your target market
- How your product or service is perceived by your prospective buyers
- What your target audience considers to be your company’s competitive advantages or disadvantages
- How companies perceive the cost/value of your offering versus others
- How your sales team is viewed, and whether the salespeople and process helped or hurt your chances of closing the deal
- How your company is being talked about among potential buyers and other prominent voices (such as within venture capital, private equity or industry research firms)
- How those with the authority to buy from (or retain) your company see the competitive landscape changing
Win Your Next Sales Deal
And I’m really just scratching the surface. Imagine what you might do differently if you had access to this information on an ongoing basis. Having this knowledge at your fingertips would be immensely helpful when you are making decisions about how you refine your sales approach, how you position your company, how (and where) you market, how you invest, who you hire, train, retain, and so on.
So, how do you get your hands on all of this powerful information? Read part 2 in our series, How to Obtain Valuable Insight from the Sales Process.