Every Win / Loss analysis program is uniquely focused on the sales activities of the company that commissions it, but, based on the thousands of interviews we have conducted for our clients, Anova Consulting Group has identified common themes that emerge regardless of the company or the market sector in which it participates. These four deficiencies in the sales process kill new business opportunities.
In sales as in other aspects of life, first impressions are critical. A lack of chemistry between a salesperson and a prospect can kill a sale before the process even begins. Perceived arrogance or pushiness on the part of a salesperson can make a prospect feel their business is being taken for granted. Sales teams must consistently convey to prospects that their business is, and will be, important and valued – not just the source of their next commission check. Salespeople should not leave rapport up to chance; rapport-building is a skill that can be tracked and honed using Win / Loss analysis techniques.
Identifying and addressing prospect needs during the presentation are of paramount importance in the sales process. Failing to take a consultative approach to understanding their goals and objectives is a major turn-off for most prospects and can result in a sales team emphasizing the wrong features and benefits of a company’s offerings. This type of early miscommunication immediately conveys to a prospect that the sales team, and therefore the company it represents, is out of sync with their needs. In addition, simply learning a prospect’s needs is not enough if this information is not used to customize the pitch. In Anova Consulting Group’s experience, giving a presentation that is perceived as “canned” or “off the shelf” is frequently cited as among the primary reasons sales teams lose new business.
In a competitive environment, standing out from the crowd is critical. If salespeople are unable to clearly articulate how their offerings are different from those of competitors, prospects have little reason to leave their existing solution. In such scenarios, the sales process can quickly become a contest focused on which provider offers the lowest price. In “bakeoff” sales situations like these, failure to differentiate is a leading cause of lost sales.
Qualifying prospects is a critical step in the sales process. Great rapport, a customized pitch, and plenty of differentiation do not matter if a sales team is selling to the wrong person. If the decision-maker is not on board, the sale cannot be closed.
For a company that is focused on establishing a formal process for becoming more competitive, Win / Loss analysis can provide the necessary mirror for self-assessment and improvement, and ultimately lead to a higher win rate.