Like most salespeople, I made a whole lot of mistakes and got slapped around during my rookie years. I was taught a wise truth soon after – “70% of all the deals you’re working on should be winnable.”
By learning to mark deals lost earlier on in the sales process and on my own accord helped me spend more time on deals that were winnable and less on those that weren’t. Thus, I felt that the deals I got to spend time on were genuinely at least 70% winnable, keeping my sales pipeline clean and my sales velocity high.
Here are the 3 key things to learn about losing in sales:
1. Turn reactive losing, signalled by your prospect, into proactive losing based on your judgement of whether they fit in the 70% winnable category or not. This means shifting most of the losing from the end of the sales cycle towards the beginning.
2. Codify, standardize and review your lost reasons, and make your qualification criteria rock-solid. Every week, review all open deals as well as the lost deals from the previous week. Understand your losing and winning categories (on price, on product features, in a specific industry, or other) on-the-go and fine tune your tactics on a weekly basis by learning from this generated knowledge.
3. Know your ideal customer profile, and figure out how to get as many prospects who fit the profile into your pipeline. The ideal customer is one with whom you have the best possible strategic fit across the board – you have great product/need fit, buyer/seller behavior and cycle time fit, and budget/price fit.
Here’s a more thorough overview of the important things in losing. (more…)