In the “cumulative dogpile,” the salesperson is put under a microscope and every account move is analyzed and criticized by management. It’s painful to witness and even worse to be the subject of one of these inquisitions. Unfortunately, the cumulative dogpile and blame game impede the flow of critical information and dissuade the truth from being communicated throughout the organization. With this in mind, here are the three critical objectives of true win-loss analysis.
1. Sales Cycle Type Classification
The primary objective of win-loss analysis is to classify sales cycle types into winnable (higher likelihood of winning), competitive (possible win), and un-winnable models (extremely low likelihood of winning). This focuses the sales organization on legitimate opportunities so they’re not wasting time on futile accounts. These models can also be easily communicated to new sales hires to encourage faster productivity. The problem with predicting which account a salesperson is likely to win is the due to the complexity of information that is involved in each sales cycle and that there are conflicting data points between various sales cycles types. In addition, vitally important information about the people/politics of decision-making is hard to categorize. Therefore, information must be objectively collected from both the customer and sales team via extensive interviews, the common themes collated, and trends interpreted correctly.
2. Identify and Counteract Sales Cycle Turning Points
Although closing a large complex B2B sales cycle may take many months to complete, every deal has a critical moment or turning point where it is won or lost. One vendor is in a unique position of receiving information from the customer that the other vendors don’t receive. As this favored vendor and the customer spend more time together, a higher level of rapport is developed. While this is happening, the customer is presenting misleading information to the other vendors and not sharing critical information or access to company executives. Unfortunately, the other vendors continue to spend additional resources and their time and effort on the account when they have lost momentum and have virtually no chance of winning.
By identifying potential sales cycle turning points you help the sales teams proactively predict the future. They can execute an account strategy that avoids momentum-stopping turning points (for example, when customers dictate certain conditions that will result in an unsuccessful software demonstration). Equally important, you can arm the sales reps with counteractive business and technical responses to overcome key deal-stopping objections.
The third goal is to identify behavioral patterns of Heavy Hitters (extremely successful salespeople) so that they can be emulated by others on the team. The identification of this “collective intuition” provides real-world strategies to improve overall sales execution and close accounts more quickly. Of course, the information from the study will help improve your overall product messaging, solution positioning, and provide important customer feedback to improve all aspects of the pre- and post sales process (lead generation, marketing collateral, consulting, customer support, etc.).
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