How to make your number

In this article, I explore properly utilizing a Win/Loss/ No Decision Assessment to identify gaps in your sales strategy. This is a solid step to transform the sales team into a data-driven sales organization. As a guide, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to pages 258 – 326 of the PDF to review the Sales Strategy section of the workbook.

 

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:

 

  1. 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.

     

  2.  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.

     

    Sales Strategy Sales Cycle

     

  3. 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

       

  1. 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.

     

4. 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.

 

Win-Loss-Calculator

 

In the meantime, download the Win Loss No Decision Calculator and start using it to see the revenue impact to changes when conducting your Win/Loss Analysis. As a guide to the discussion, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to pages 258 – 326 of the PDF to review the Sales Strategy section of the workbook. To request a workshop with an expert simply sign up for a MySBI account and check the box in your preferences to request a workshop.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Kearney

Helps clients adopt emerging best practices to help them make their number.

John has been with SBI since 2011. He has worked with executives in Executive Education, Media, Telco, IT Services, and others. Under his leadership, organizations have successfully grown revenue and improved Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. With a focus on aligning strategies across functions, John has delivered strategic solutions that are actionable and executable. Prior to SBI, John earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

 

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