“If you’re not first, you’re last,” - Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights.
In most cases, sales is a zero-sum game. There is typically a winner and multiple losers. While there are situations where a deal is split among vendors/partners, it is usually at the expense of their competitors.
When is it somewhat acceptable to lose? EARLY.
We work with many clients who are seeking to improve their win rate. One of the best approaches is to strengthen your sales team’s ability to assess opportunities and constantly qualify in/out. Easy to say, harder to do, especially when there are not enough opportunities in the pipeline to meet monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.
Approaches to Improving Win-Rate
There are a few approaches to improving your win rate:
Executing a Buyer-Aligned Sales Process
Much has been made of the changes to the customer’s knowledge (a large increase with the internet) and buying process (longer purchasing cycles) over the past decade, and for good reason.
Developing and ‘Testing’ Win Plans
Win plans are tools that are designed to ensure the sales team ask the important and ‘hard’ questions throughout the sales process. This helps guide a coordinated set of strategies and tactics necessary to win. They are also quite helpful in integrating new sales team members, SMEs, or executives into the process midstream. We have had numerous clients where an executive refuses to participate in a sales call unless a win plan has been created. Win plans help the sales team to answer the question: “How and why will we win this business?”
Conducting Ongoing Opportunity Assessments
An assessment is typically an integral component of a Win Plan and helps the sales team to answer the simple question: “Does the customer evidence show that we are on the right track to win?”
Like Win Plans, Opportunity Assessments should be revisited throughout the sales process.
Creating and Communicating Insights
Executing the first three items gives the sales team an enhanced ability to collaborate and strategize with peers, sales management, and even jointly with customers. Enabling technologies such as Salesforce and add-on analytics programs can match the assessment and win themes. They offer historical results to improve a sales professional’s ability to objectively qualify each opportunity.
To drive up your win rate, think about applying these foundational tools to consistently assess your best “go/no-go” options. We’ve seen our clients’ win rates improve 10-15 points by implementing the approaches above.
Contact us to best leverage your resources to improve win rates.
About The Author
Warren Shiver is a Partner at The Brevet Group, a management consultancy focused on end-to-end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Warren’s leadership has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process, and well-designed enablement tools.