Enable Managers to Make an Impact on Future Deals Using Win/Loss Insights
You may know the reason why a specific deal was won or lost, but can you and your account teams reverse engineer that process to improve results on the next deal? Is your team currently leveraging those insights to repeat successes and avoid known setbacks? Don’t scream at the scoreboard, or just tell your people what to do. Help your managers provide the how. Define exactly what’s working and what isn’t so you can focus on the best opportunities to support your salespeople in improving win rates. First, you need to equip your managers to get beyond the data of why deals are won and lost.
[Tim Caito, Force Management Senior Partner, will be discussing how to get beyond the data to define exactly why your sales reps are losing deals and how to course correct your approach. Join him during Clozd’s Win Loss Week. Register for the conversation here.]
Reasons Why Companies Win and Lose:
Research from Clozd gives us key reasons why salespeople win and lose. These are common in many organizations:
- Overall capabilities and features
- Perceived value and ROI
- Empathy and communication
- Sales process and follow up
- Brand strength and reputation
- Fit for buyer needs and business
- Ease of use and user experience
- Demo qualify, knowledge and expertise
- Contract terms, licensing model and negotiation
- Timing, urgency and/or budget
The reasons listed above come up time and again in win/loss reviews, you’ve likely heard most of them before. Every single one of those top reasons can be tied back to actions the salesperson took (or didn’t take) during the initial sales process. Your sales managers need to be able to make these connections and help reps course-correct them in future deals. If your managers can tie win/loss outcomes to the specific seller actions that led to those results, they will be able to pinpoint future at-risk deals and coach reps accordingly to ensure a win.
Equip Managers to Make an Impact in Deal Reviews:
Start with your deal review process. Help your managers take a more strategic approach to understand what the rep did or didn’t do that negatively impacted their sale. What should they be looking for during these reviews?
Each of the common reasons listed above fall into three buckets that indicate what may have gone awry during the sales process. For your managers’ next win/loss reviews, have them assess lost deals with their reps in these three areas.
1. Customer Interests:
These questions will help your manager determine if the rep attached themselves to the right business problem:
- Can the rep fully explain their understanding of the complex problem the buyer was looking to solve?
- Was it a big business problem or technical/low-level in nature?
- Did the rep qualify in an opportunity that was not a correct solution fit?
- Did the rep align your solution with their buyer’s needs, mapping buyer after scenarios to the outcomes your offerings can achieve?
- Did the rep provide proof that your solutions can do what they said it can do?
- How long did reps execute the discovery process to identify customer pain points and their impact on the organization as a whole?
- How many company stakeholders did the rep execute discovery with?
- Did the rep look at the customer situation through the lens of the problem that the buyer was trying to solve or did they focus on selling specific features/functions?
If a salesperson can attach their solutions to a business problem that high-level buyers can’t go another day without solving, those buyers will put their money where their mouth is. Oftentimes reps can lose deals because they focused on solving the wrong problem, one that didn’t drive urgency and access to funding. Maybe it was too low-level or technical in nature so a high-level buyer didn’t see a need to invest. Maybe the rep just ran with the first challenge a buyer shared with them, and didn’t take enough time to execute effective discovery to gain insight on how a challenge impacted the company overall. Help your manager coach reps to uncover and attach to big business problems. Here are a few resources to share:
- Finding the Business Pain [Podcast]
- Three Questions You Need to Answer For Your Economic Buyer [Podcast]
- How to Reignite Stalled Deals
2. Position to Compete:
These questions will help your manager determine if the rep put themselves in an effective position to compete:
- Did the rep understand the solution fit, our position relative to buyer landscapes and decision criteria?
- What perceived value did the rep articulate to the buyer and how did that relate to competition (including a do-nothing or do-it-internally option)?
- Did the rep instill value, early and often in their deals and effectively pull that value into negotiations? Can the rep provide examples?
- Did the rep take the time to identify and enable a strong champion (someone with power and influence) to advocate on their behalf?
- Did the rep think they had a champion when they were actually working with a coach (someone knowledgeable about internal company structures/politics but has minimal influence on high-level company decisions)?
The most successful salespeople are able to instill value, early and often in their deals that they can leverage to win against competition (including a do-nothing or do-it-internally option). Simply put, if your rep lost, some other competitor had a better business case. To build the right business case, reps have to take the time to execute effective discovery, influence decision criteria and build a strong champion that will advocate that business case on their behalf. Help your managers coach reps to put themselves in a position to compete. Here are a few resources to share:
- Helping Buyers Reach Their Own Conclusions [Podcast]
- How to Stack Customer Requirements in Your Favor
- How to Ask Trap Setting Questions
3. Sales Approach:
These questions will help your manager determine if the rep took the time to align their sales process to the way their buyers wanted to buy to minimize setbacks at the end of the deal:
- Did the rep drag the buyer through your sales process, or did they align their activities to the way the buyer wants to buy, guiding them along the way?
- Did the rep take shortcuts in the sales process, as indicated by lack of customer knowledge, no defined champion, etc?
- Did the rep execute effective discovery to trap the competition around their competitive differentiation and get buyers to agree on decision criteria that favored your solution? Can the rep provide examples of this decision criteria?
- Was the rep able to diffuse customer negotiation tactics?
- Were there any bottlenecks the rep faced as they pushed the deal forward internally?
If the rep aligned their solution to their buyers' big business problems and put themselves in a position to compete, the final bucket comes down to how well they executed their sales approach. The most successful salespeople align their sales approach to their buyers' buying process so they can stay connected to internal buyer decision points and set their solution up for success against other options at the buyer’s disposal. When executed correctly this sales approach enables reps to minimize gaps in customer knowledge, capture internal support to defuse competition, and ultimately win their deal. Help your manager coach reps to align their sales process to the way their buyers want to buy. Here are a few resources to share:
- Align with the Buying Process: The Power of the Mantra
- How To Negotiate Early [Podcast]
- Improve Your Sales Process: Consider the Buyer Mindset
Why Your Sales Organization is Losing and What to Do About It
Dig deeper into what’s working and what isn’t so you can focus on the best opportunities to support your salespeople in improving win rates. Join Tim Caito for a discussion on "Beyond the Data: Why Your Sales Organization is Losing and What to Do About It." Learn about the Clozd's Win Loss Week and register for Tim Caito's discussion on September 16.