How does your strategy match up to your goals? How does it match up to competitors? How does it match up to world-class sales organizations?
In my last article I gave a thorough description of a Win/Loss/ No Decision Assessment. This time I will be narrowing the focus, and exploring the initial phase of properly utilizing a Win/Loss/ No Decision Assessment. This phase is: Identifying the Sales Strategy Gaps.
How to Identify Gaps – and Grow from them.
There are 4 main tactics to Identifying the Gaps in your sales strategy. Each deserves a concerted effort on your part, and offers a different vantage point from where you can analyze and discover areas for improvement.
Stages of Identifying Gaps:
- Sales Data Analysis – If you are going to improve your win/loss ratio, it’s very important that you understand your prior performance throughout the sales cycle. Analyzing this performance through the lens of data analysis allows you to spot patterns or trends that may have relevance to why your opportunities end up as a win, a loss, or a no decision. The example provided below shows a detailed analysis that was used to understand decision time in deals won vs. deals lost. By understanding this data, you can save time, effort, and money, as well as improve your number of wins.
- Sales Process Assessment – You must perform a thorough study and analysis of your sales process, both from the Sales perspective and the Buyer’s perspective. The graphic below provides a guideline for you in terms of how the Sales Cycle should align between the two. For example, it is essential that your Account Executives are providing a demo to confirm both value and power to the customer at the precise stage when that customer is going to identify their preferred solution. The two must align in this way throughout the sales cycle in order to increase to increase the opportunities that convert as wins for your organization.
- Customer Win/Loss Interviews – It can be extremely beneficial to interview previous opportunities, regardless of whether they were wins, losses, or no decisions for your organization. The best question to ask during these interviews is: “What were the top 3 things we did during the sales process that you DID NOT LIKE?” Some of the common answers you may receive (and can likely improve from) are things like:
- Multiple conversations and delays because of project plan changes in the midst of the sales process
- Sensing that upper management pressured Account Executive to push client upper management for the PO
- Tried to force client to fit the sales organization’s mold instead of doing what the client wanted from the start
- Lack of sales organization flexibility
- Sales organization’s upper management made a bad impression, such as arrogance, lack of respect, or disinterest
If you’re searching for a way to identify gaps, this tactic is crucial. Massive amounts of information for sales strategy improvement can come from these interviews. You won’t always be granted the interview, but the data you will glean from it afterwards will be well worth it.
- Customer Survey – Similar to the Win/Loss Interviews, these surveys can provide you with a plethora of knowledge about your own sales process shortcomings. Now that you’ve secured the business and established a relationship, you are free to investigate where you may have stumbled along the way. For example you could ask questions like:
- Did the sales team establish realistic expectations for the implementation time frame and subsequent results?
- Which method of engagement do you prefer with your account manager?
- Did we take too long to respond to questions or provide you with requested information during the sales process?
All of these Gap Identification Tactics will allow you to peer into your own sales strategy – at times from an outsider’s perspective – to see what is causing potential wins to become losses or no decisions. In my next post, I will illustrate how you can Analyze and Assess the Gaps that you have Identified to the betterment of your sales strategy.
In the meantime, download the Win/Loss/No Decision Analysis Calculator and start using it to see the revenue impact to changes when conducting your Win/Loss Analysis. In addition to a Win/Loss Assessment, find out what else you can do to thrive as a sales leader – and continue thriving!