Four Questions to Help Your Team Recover from a Lost Sales Opportunity

Four Questions to Help Your Team Recover from a Lost Sales Opportunity

Categories: Sales Process  |  Sales Discovery Process

A lost sales opportunity hurts the bottom line, but it can also provide a valuable teaching lesson for your sales team. There is usually a quantifiable reason that the sale wasn’t made.

Identifying what went wrong gives your team an opportunity to understand how not to make the same mistake twice. Help your team recover from the lost sales opportunity quickly and effectively. Here are four questions you can ask your salespeople that will help them learn from their mistakes.

1. Did you effectively use a discovery process to understand the prospect’s needs?

Deals are won and lost on effective discovery. The first step in a winning sales opportunity is to uncover the problem that has the largest business impact for your prospect. Did the salesperson use the discovery process effectively by uncovering key pain points and overall business objectives? Or, did he/she stop at the first problem that came up in the conversation without determining the greater impact?

Without uncovering the pain points, your sellers won’t be able to (1) truly articulate the value of the solution and (2) determine the required capabilities necessary to make the solution a success. Discovery gives you the valuable information you need to help define the customer’s required capabilities in a way that points towards the benefits of your solution. Determine how the salesperson defined the minimum requirements of the solution. Did they do so in a way that mapped to the differentiation of your solution? 

Read more here on coaching your teams to effective discovery.

2. Did you clearly articulate your differentiators?

In order to solidify the buyer’s confidence in your solution, your salesperson needs to clearly differentiate your solution from your competitors. The question to ask in a lost opportunity is, how did the salesperson leverage the differentiators throughout the sales process? 

Did he/she tie any differentiation back to what was important to the customer? Or, did the salesperson rattle off a list of what makes your company and your solution different without providing context?

Having a solid grasp of how your products, services and even your company are different and better than the competition creates the opportunity for you to show your buyer value. Best-in-class sellers know how to effectively articulate differentiation in a way that builds a connection back to the positive business outcomes their customers are trying to achieve.

Without this ability, your salespeople will consistently lose even more opportunities or be forced to lower the price.

3. Did you adequately qualify the opportunity throughout the sales process?

The best sales processes align with the prospect’s buying process and contain an effective way to qualify deals along the way. In other words, sellers need to be able to qualify a prospect by “reading the buying signs.”

Customer Verifiable Outcomes allow the customer to participate in the selling process. They indicate their “buying” state-of-mind. They may include things like:

  • Documented pain points
  • Implications of the customer’s current situation
  • Knowledge the organization is ready to invest resources

Using Customer Verifiable Outcomes as criteria in your sales process earns your sellers the right to advance the opportunity to the next stage of the buying process. As a result, sellers are better able to verify areas where they would otherwise be guessing. If reps can determine these benchmarks, they are less likely to lose the opportunity.

If reps don’t focus on staying in sync with their customers and reading the buying signs, they greatly increase the probability of losing deals. What “buyer signals” did the rep use to show that it was time to move the opportunity to the next stage? How well did the rep use Customer Verifiable Outcomes throughout the sales process? What steps may have been skipped that led to the lost opportunity? 

Read more about leveraging Customer Verifiable Outcomes.

4. Did you correctly leverage proof points?

If the required capabilities were defined and the differentiation was clear, it is possible that the problem could tie back to the buyer believing your organization could do what it promises. The salesperson may have articulated value and differentiation, but the buyer didn’t have the proof to back up the claims.

Providing a prospect with proof points and customer testimonials gives them tangible evidence that you can do what you say you can do. If your reps are in a competitive deal situation, it could make or break the opportunity. Think about it, if all things are equal and your competitor has proof he/she achieved the metrics your buyer is looking for and you don’t, who will the customer choose?

Read more about leveraging proof points in the sales process.



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