The fundamental trick is aligning your best salespeople with your largest prospects.  The organization is big, and you can’t be everywhere at once.  In the normal course of business, reps secure appointments with key customers and prospects.  How can you ensure a green, over-eager new rep doesn’t blow the sale?   Here’s how:


Key Account Selling Strategy resized 600Add the Look-to-Book” ratio to your key account Win/Loss Analysis.  


What’s the “Look-to-Book” Ratio?


SBI recently surveyed and interviewed over 200 CEOs.  We captured 36 metrics that CEOs believe “reveal the truth” about sales org performance.  Five top CEOs named the Look-to-Book Ratio the Sales Metric of the Year.  Go here to read Greg Alexander’s recent article on this useful metric.


The Look-to-Book Ratio is the measurement of how many big deals are won or lost after the Chief Sales Officer visits with the prospect.  We’ve modified the concept and included it in a Win/Loss Analysis template.  Now the CSO can use it himself.  He can ensure his top salespeople attend key account sales calls.


Click here to download the special Win/Loss Analysis template


Who Are Your Top Salespeople?   

In most organizations, it’s your sales managers and directors.  Their consistently outstanding sales performance got them promoted.  How do they spend their time now?  In the field, coaching, training, and quarterbacking on key appointments?  Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.


Here’s the reality:  Sales SVPs worry about sales directors, managers, and other leaders stuck in their offices.   Sometimes the administrative part of managing pulls them away from selling and coaching.  And sometimes it’s just nicer in the office, where prospects don’t say NO.  Our tool, used consistently, will compel your sales leaders to go on more appointments.  More sales leaders on appointments with large prospects equals more large accounts sold.


Here’s How This Works:

Let’s quickly define both tools.  The Look-to-Book Ratio measures how many deals are won after the CSO visits with the prospect.  A Win/Loss Analysis tells you how you look through the prospect’s eyes.  It is a prospect interview.  It helps you understand why sales opportunities are won, lost, or receive no decision.  Click here for an excellent article by Tony Albachiara on this subject.


We’ve merged these two tools into one insightful document.  Be sure a third party completes these interviews!  The interviewer can’t have a vested interest in the responses.  Along with the standard win/loss questions, the interview asks:


  • As part of the sales process, did you meet with the Sales Manager?
  • Was this meeting in the beginning, middle, or end of the buying process?
  • Did you meet with him once, or multiple times?
  • Did his involvement add value for you?


Tell your teams and the third party conducting your interviews the same thing.  You want to personally review each completed interview for prospective key accounts.  Whatever constitutes a key account in your organization – those interviews go straight to you!


win loss look to book template


Here’s Why It Helps You Sell More Key Accounts:

Human nature is a funny thing.  Managers care about what they perceive the top sales executive to care about.  Use these modified Win/Loss Analyses every month during your normal debriefing sessions.  Your follow up and personal participation are absolutely critical.  Ask these questions:               


  • It was a big prospect.  Why didn’t they meet you?
  • What got in the way of you being present?
  • If you’d been there, would our chance of a sale have increased?
  • How are you using these appointments as coaching opportunities?
  • How will you make sure you’re there in the future?


Sales leaders will immediately begin attending more key presentations.  As a result, your best salespeople will be more engaged with your larger prospects.  Your key account close ratio will increase.  More field reps will receive coaching and support.  Your leaders will lead from the front lines, instead of being stuck at headquarters.  If something is preventing their participation, you’ll know about it and you’ll help them! 


Download the Win/Loss Analysis for key accounts and give it a try.  Get your best salespeople knee-to-knee with your largest prospects.



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