In the first blog in this series, I stated that in my opinion, there are only two headline activities
required to increase your win ratio, namely:
- Continuous, ruthless ongoing deal qualification.
- Developing a customer-aligned win strategy for the surviving deals
In this post, I’m going to focus on the former;
continuous, ruthless deal qualification.
The brutal truth is that every moment spent on deals that you ultimately don’t win is a moment wasted; a moment that could have been spent somewhere more productive. Sadly, during those wasted moments we constantly reassure ourselves that if we keep at it we will win in the end, but in our hearts we know that we are unlikely to.
So who is at fault here? Is it the seller, blindly chasing anything that moves? Is it poor demand creation leading to a weak pipeline? Or is it a sales culture that believes that we need three times coverage to do our number?
If everything in the pipeline was continuously and ruthlessly qualified, there would be far fewer waste moments, and many more productive ones.
So, why doesn’t everyone just change their behaviour and processes and do this?
In my opinion, it’s a lack of objective rigor. A lack of understanding around why you win some (1 in 3), and why you lose some (2 in 3).
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase ‘learning organisation’? Formula 1 teams are learning organisations, as are many other sporting organisations. They continually (key word here) review and adapt, based on really understanding what works, and what doesn’t. Do non-sporting organisations do this? Yes they do, especially with their products and services. They call in continual improvement. But they rarely apply this to the sales function. That needs to change.
Tracking the real reasons why you win will help you identify your sweet spots (which types of organisations buy what, and why), and conversely, tracking the real reasons you lose help you identify your weak spots (which types of organisations don’t buy what, and why).
This invaluable, highly objective information will enable you to apply that much needed rigor.
It will enable you to create a filter and prioritisation matrix that spans the opportunity management process.
Imagine an environment in which you could look at every opportunity in the pipeline and say ‘that’s the ideal customer for that product/service, let’s invest’ and conversely, ‘let’s not waste another moment on this one because etc., let’s focus elsewhere’?
Impossible? Certainly not!