Win Loss Analysis: What are the top 6 reasons for losing your deals?

Top 6 reasons why sales people lose deals

We reviewed the Win-Loss Analysis Programmes we had run over the past few years. We thought you may be interested in some of the top mistakes salespeople make. We think that these seem to account for most lost sales caused by sales people. There are of course, other reasons for losing deals.

  1. Salespeople relying on the features and capabilities of their product or service to win.
    Few companies have a completely unique offering to simply blow the competition away.
    And if they did they probably would not need sales people to sell it!!
    Winning sales people understand their client’s environment and circumstances well first .
    They use that understanding to differentiate their products or services in ways that convey value to customers.
  2. They’re afraid of calling on executive-level buyers 
    They rely on giving their pitch to their usual customer contact.
    This person becomes their surrogate sales person (with no training)
    They try to sell the idea inside the company
    Salespeople need to have the courage to work out who they need to see and meet them.
  3. They depend too much on too few relationships.
    Relationship selling usually isn’t enough anymore.
    Salespeople have to prove their value.
    Knowing the key buyer usually won’t close the sale.
    These days there’s usually a decision making unit not one person.
    Getting multiple people from your company to meet people from your customer helps.
  4. They don’t have a plan to win. 
    Poor Planning delivers Poor Performance (or you may have a similar phrase ?
    They have agreed no objective or agenda for each meeting.
    They have nothing to aim for, nothing to measure progress.
    That makes it very difficult to know you are winning or losing before it happens.
    It also makes learning from your mistakes almost impossible.
  5. They don’t really understand their customer’s business.
    They will therefore communicate to their customers that they don’t think that’s important.
    The customer will see  they aren’t passionate about solving their problems.
    Successful salespeople understand how what they sell helps their customers.
  6. They don’t have all the skills and experience required to win.
    Salespeople have to be better researchers and information gathers.
    Winning a sale today requires knowledge, planning and execution.

Here’s the opinion of the Harvard Business Review,

the 8 reasons Sales People Lose Deals

Click here to see the HBR Article

Or read on for just our edited highlights

1. Incumbent Advantage.

“It’s a pain to switch vendors. It’s a pain to analyze whether you should or not.
We naturally prefer working with our existing vendors.” —Vice President of Purchasing

2. Inability to Remove Risk.

“It sorts itself out pretty fast — those who will and won’t make it with us.
We are a big company, so there’s always a tendency to go with the big players.
Who are your proven big-time customers?
What resources do you have to get something fixed?” —Chief Operating Officer

3. C-Level Executive Access.

“Every salesperson is trying to get into my office and explain how their wonderful products will save me tons of money.
Very few do because most don’t understand what it takes to sit across the table from me.” —Chief Executive Officer

4. Business Solution Focus.

“What’s wrong with salespeople is they’re typically selling a product.
I don’t need a product unless it solves one of my business problems.” —President

5. Ineffective Messaging.

“We are a skeptical group, and they lost the deal during their presentation.
They said they were different and much better than what we have, but they didn’t provide enough proof.
What they said didn’t really apply to us.” —Chief Financial Officer

6. Poor Pre-sales Resources.

“The vendor we chose has a group of smart, dedicated, customer-oriented people.
To a great degree, I don’t think their products and services are different from their competitors’.
They distinguish themselves with their people.” —Vice President of Supply Chain

7. Lack of an Internal Coach.

“Anytime we had a question, the sales rep attacked it.
He would get their people on the phone within a day to answer how we could do something.
He listened to what we were trying to do and he knew his resources.
He earned our trust so we were much more open with him.” —Chief Information Officer

8. Out-of-range Pricing.

“Price is always important but we did not buy the lowest priced solution.
There are many other factors including the fit between organizations that render pricing to a secondary factor.
With that said, I never want to buy the highest priced solution.” —Vice President of Technology.

What do you believe are the top reasons why your sales teams lose deals ?

Do you agree with the views above? Do you have other reasons?

Do you run Win-Loss Analysis on your sales deals?

If so what does your analysis tell you? info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Interviewer Skills Training: Do you hire people for their values-fit? Then develop their competencies and skills?

A guest Blog from Kevin Howes

We all know, that unfortunately, poor hiring decisions at any level in a business can

  1. Cost us a great deal of cash
  2. Create unnecessary hassle for our Line Managers
  3. Cause undue distress for team members
  4. Result in dissatisfaction among customers
  5. Waste lots of time for everyone involved.

Great companies and managers start by hiring positive, change-resilient, and committed people whose values fit the those of their business or organisation.

(Our Interviewer Skills Training Workshop can help here)

Then keeping them requires them to create a healthy work environment where they can use all their knowledge, creativity, and skills to contribute to growing  the business as well as developing themselves.

The ability to select, motivate, develop, and retain top people is critical to any  organisation’s success.
If we want to build a business where people come to work with a spring in their step on a cold and dank Monday morning; we need to know how to hire and keep great people.

So why is it some people enjoy a job and stay with it for years, while others seem unhappy and eventually leave?
Or they stay on but complain, come to work late and call in sick more than others?

Even when the pay and rations are good compared to other local businesses, even when the scheduling is flexible and the coworkers are congenial, some people just won’t be happy in their new job. It’s not because there is something wrong with the person or the job.
Sometimes there just isn’t the right fit.

We at Rainmaker call this values or motivational fit, and we describe this as how well candidates’ values’ or what they expect or wants from a job, and what the job can actually offer match those of the organisation, the job and its values.

Lack of motivational fit may not result in poor performance of the work itself but is likely to result in things like tardiness, absenteeism, use of sick days, and may result in them not staying or succeeding in their new job or organisation.

We have found that if you want to be more accurate at selecting the right person for the job and then keeping them make sure you hire hire people with the right motivational fit for the job and organisation.

There are some real benefits interviewing for motivational fit

  • Focuses attention on job- and organization-specific motivational factors.
  • Prevents interviewers from projecting their own motivations on candidates
  • Helps ensure hired candidates like their work and stay longer
  • More accurate selection
  • A behavioural assessment of important and sometimes elusive attributes.

We suggest that by adding three simple steps to your existing process can have us all sharing in the enjoyment of your success.

Step1:, Firstly start with a role analysis;
Identify the key success factors and role-specific competencies.
Best done by interviewing existing top performers in that role.

Step 2: Create an Effective job profile
Because we want to hire great people, we need to describe what exceptional performance looks like. Effective role profiles and job descriptions define what needs to be achieved and describe the skills and experience the candidate must bring.

Step 3 : Insert specific questions into your recruitment interviewing process
Questions that test for the candidates ability to accomplish desired goals
Research shows us that the ability to accomplish desired goals is a better predictor of future performance than the candidate’s level of skills and experience. Comparable past performance is also an effective predictor of future achievement. Then, create behaviourally anchored questions that help assess the extent of values fit with the job, organisation and its culture.

At Rainmaker we have workshops filled to the brim with practical tools and approaches.
These can measurably reduce your losses through poor hiring decisions…….

If we can help you or you’d like to learn more about other clients who have adopted this approach call 0333 444 1955  or 0845 652 1955 or email us on info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Win-Loss Analysis: #5 Reasons Sales People Lose Deals from Harvard Business Review

Here are, in the opinion of the Harvard Business Review, the reasons Sales People Lose Deals

Click here to see the HBR Article

Or read on for just our edited highlights

Incumbent Advantage.

“It’s a pain to switch vendors. It’s a pain to analyze whether you should or not.
We naturally prefer working with our existing vendors.”
—Vice President of Purchasing

Inability to Remove Risk.

“It sorts itself out pretty fast — those who will and won’t make it with us.
We are a big company, so there’s always a tendency to go with the big players.
Who are your proven big-time customers?
What resources do you have to get something fixed?”
—Chief Operating Officer

C-Level Executive Access.

“Every salesperson is trying to get into my office and explain how their wonderful products will save me tons of money.
Very few do because most don’t understand what it takes to sit across the table from me.”
—Chief Executive Officer

Business Solution Focus.

“What’s wrong with salespeople is they’re typically selling a product.
I don’t need a product unless it solves one of my business problems.”
—President

Ineffective Messaging.

“We are a skeptical group, and they lost the deal during their presentation.
They said they were different and much better than what we have, but they didn’t provide enough proof.
What they said didn’t really apply to us.”
—Chief Financial Officer

Poor Pre-sales Resources.

“The vendor we chose has a group of smart, dedicated, customer-oriented people.
To a great degree, I don’t think their products and services are different from their competitors’.
They distinguish themselves with their people.”
—Vice President of Supply Chain

Lack of an Internal Coach.

“Anytime we had a question, the sales rep attacked it.
He would get their people on the phone within a day to answer how we could do something.
He listened to what we were trying to do and he knew his resources.
He earned our trust so we were much more open with him.”
—Chief Information Officer

Out-of-range Pricing.

“Price is always important but we did not buy the lowest priced solution.
There are many other factors including the fit between organizations that render pricing to a secondary factor.
With that said, I never want to buy the highest priced solution.”
—Vice President of Technology.

 

Win-Loss Analysis : #4 What are the issues when conducting in-house Win-Loss Analysis?

We think that understanding why a sale is lost is critical.
There is much to be learned from both Won Deals and Lost Deals
That’s why we offer our Win-Loss Analysis service

Many clients agree with us.
Some clients conduct a similar activity using their sales people.
They ask them to conduct a client debrief on lost deals.

What are the issues that they find?

One company studied their Win Loss system that they ran via their salespeople…
They asked the sales people how often they believed they were responsible for losing deals.

  • Sales People blamed themselves 25% of the time
  • Some sales people blamed product/service features
  • Others blamed pricing issues.
  • Many said it’s all about chemistry and feel
    — and there’s nothing they could’ve done to change the outcome.

Are there issues when you ask sales people to conduct lost deal debriefs?

Issue 1:
Prospects..

  • Don’t always give straight answers when salespeople ask why a sale is lost.
  • Often feel uncomfortable giving feedback
  • Don’t want to criticise directly
  • Don’t want to hurt sales people’s feelings.
  • Fear confrontation from the salesperson who may become defensive.

Would it be fair to conclude that prospects maybe share the truth with sales people less than half of the time?

Issue 2 :
What did we hear the client say about why we lost? VS What did we give as the reason

The company captured the reasons their salespeople provided after the debrief
Then they asked an independent company to ask the prospect.
They matched the answers
40% of the time did salespeople identify the real reasons
28% were partially right
32% of them were totally wrong in their assessments as to why they lost a deal.

We don’t think that we should be surprised …

There are a number of perfectly plausable reasons that salespeople are unable to accurately assess the reasons for losing the sale during a debriefing:

  1.  Customer has a filter / We have our own fiter    
    Salespeople may misinterpret what they’re saying or may selectively listen
  2. Lack of rapport.
    If the salesperson failed to develop rapport with the prospect then the same problem will occur in a debriefing session.
  3. Fear of accountability.  
    Salespeople may not want to gather the truth because they don’t want to be held accountable.
  4. Hesitant to talk to a prospect after a loss.
    Some salespeople fear bothering prospects by conducting debriefing calls.
    They feel they will be better off moving on to the next deal instead of tracking down the reason for the present loss.
    We think that this is understandable.
    Sales people have to bounce back and agonising over a lost deal is no way to do that.

 

Do you have your own experience of running in-house Win-Loss Analysis?

What was your experience ? Let us have your views.

Info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Sales Training: #3 Top reasons why sales people lose deals

Top reasons why sales people lose deals

We reviewed the Win-Loss Analysis Programmes we had run over the past few years.
We thought you may be interested in some of the top mistakes salespeople make.
We think that these seem to account for most lost sales caused by sales people.
There are of course, other reasons for losing deals.

  1. Salespeople relying on the features and capabilities of their product or service to win.
    Few companies have a completely unique offering to simply blow the competition away.
    And if they did they probably would not need sales people to sell it!!
    Winning sales people understand their client’s environment and circumstances well first .
    They use that understanding to differentiate their products or services in ways that convey value to customers.
  2. They’re afraid of calling on executive-level buyers  
    They rely on giving their pitch to their usual customer contact.
    This person becomes their surrogate sales person (with no training)
    They try to sell the idea inside the company
    Salespeople need to have the courage to work out who they need to see and meet them.
  3. They depend too much on too few relationships.
    Relationship selling usually isn’t enough anymore.
    Salespeople have to prove their value.
    Knowing the key buyer usually won’t close the sale.
    These days there’s usually a decision making unit not one person.
    Getting multiple people from your company to meet people from your customer helps.
  4. They don’t have a plan to win.  
    Poor Planning delivers Poor Performance (or similar phrase)
    They have agreed no objective or agenda for each meeting.
    They have nothing to aim for, nothing to measure progress.
    That makes it very difficult to know you are winning or losing before it happens.
    It also makes learning from your mistakes almost impossible.
  5. They don’t really understand their customer’s business.   
    They will communicate to their customers that they don’t think that it’s important.
    The customer will see  they aren’t passionate about solving their problems.
    Successful salespeople understand how what they sell helps their customers
  6. They don’t have all the skills and experience required to win.  
    Salespeople have to be better researchers and information gathers.
    Winning a sale today requires knowledge, planning and execution.

What are the top 6 reasons why your sales teams lose deals ?
We are interested in your answers.
Do you agree with our top 6?
Do you have others?

Do you run Win-Loss Analysis on your sales deals?

What does it tell you? info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Win Loss Analysis#2: Measures, Communications and Who runs it?

In order for a B2B business to thrive, it’s really important for them to understand

  1. The decision-making criteria of their clients.
  2. The decision making unit and how it works
  3. The client’s buying and decision making processes

What’s a simple and cost-effective way to do that?

You can find out how clients make decisions with a Win-Loss Analysis Programme .
Using that understanding our clients have delivered specific, actionable, and measurable improvements in products , processes and people.

Question 1 for Win-Loss Analysis:   What are you going to measure?

We all know that “What we measure is what we manage”.
It’s therefore critical that you are set up to measure the right things in the first place.
It’s best to involve people from the sales, pre-sales, ops, technical, and client-facing areas.
In short anyone you feel has an important role to play in your sales cycle.
Determine which information and elements in your sales cycle need to be better understood.
Tailor quantitative and qualitative questions to measure that specific information.
You will benefit from everyone’s knowledge and expertise.
You begin to get buy-in, co-creating the measures and driving improvements.
If we answer Question 1 well, it will set up your programme for success.

Question 2: How should we communicate the Win-Loss Analysis Programme  Internally?

Decide how many sales cycles you intend to review.

  • How many each month
  • How many each quarter
  • How many in total for the  year.

This decision should be based on size of opportunity, cost of making a sale, industry focus, or any other relevant criteria to your business.
Communicate this criteria to the entire sales force.
Help them to understand the purpose behind the activity and the role they need to play.

 Question 3: How should we communicate the Win-Loss Analysis Programme  Externally?

We suggest that the very first meeting with a new prospect is the best time for the sales team to position your programme.
Give a simple statement to your sales force explaining to the client that:
“As an organisation we strive to continuously improve and streamline the way we work with our clients. One mechanism we use to achieve this is called a Win/Loss Analysis which happens at the end of the sales cycle.   It usually takes about an hour, it’s run by an independent company. It helps us get a better understanding of how well we engaged with you through this process. Would you be comfortable providing us with some of your time at the end of this sales cycle to assist us in improving what we do?”

Some clients, for reasons of privacy or personal ambivalence, will decline to participate.
However if positioned appropriately, the vast majority of prospective clients are more than happy to provide their time and often extremely candid feedback

Question 4: Who should run Your Win-Loss Analysis Programme?

It can be either run by you or run by a independent organisation.

Each approach has its own pros and cons.

What are the Pros of “You run it”?

  •  Cost are hidden in that it becomes another job for people to do
  •  It’s can be easier to change focus , manage and aggregate the findings and insights from the reviews
  • The sales team already has an existing relationship with the client

Cons of a “You run it” Approach

  •  The sales team already has an existing relationship with the client
  • It can be hard to be dispassionate in delivering negative feedback
  • It can be awkward for the prospective client to talk to you which may dilute the feedback they provide

Pros of an Independent company

  •  The client is more comfortable providing honest, candid feedback
  • They are often more willing to share negative insights
  • It’s easier for an independent to deliver difficult or challenging feedback to you
  • They provide you with Win / Loss support and best practices during the development and execution phase

Cons of an Independent company

  •  Costs are over and above existing staff costs
  • The company  may need time to understand the specifics of your particular sector niche
  • It requires an additional discovery phase with you prior to execution

Running a Win-Loss Analysis Programme successfully really tends to comes down to your organisation’s maturity.
Are the people in your company willing to try to understand what you do well and how you can be better?

If you would like more information on Rainmaker’s Win-Loss Programme then email us at info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

Sales Mentoring: Can you learn anything from Lost deals?

“I’m sorry but we’ve decided to go with another supplier.
Thank you so much for all your hard work.”

After a long and complex sales cycle , hearing this from a prospective client is a killer blow.

Most sales people when confronted with a lost deal try to work out what went wrong.
However they don’t usually want  “Help” from the Leadership team.
Most sales people learn to bounce back quickly.
The best way to do that is not to take on any blame yourself.
We all have the key reasons ready as to why we lost so that we can move on and quickly.

(We cover this and other topics on our Sales Mentoring Service )

You may hear …

  •  It was lost on price
    • (and so nothing to do with me)
  •  The client had a pre-existing bias towards their current supplier
    •  (and so there was nothing we could do)
  •  I couldn’t get any of our executives to visit the prospect
    • (Vague enough to blame all and yet blame no-one)

Sales people often genuinely struggle to understand where we went wrong.
For their own sanity they do need to move on to the next deal.

It is rare that two sales cycles are the same.
Therefore the reasons we win or lose a specific opportunity can be difficult to find.
How do you measure the fact that a key decision maker already had a negative perception of your solution?
Did one of your main competitors outflanked you with its sales strategies?
For sales people it’s just easier to quickly move on to the next opportunity.

Our experience of Win-Loss Analysis has told us that moving on quickly is a big mistake.
It’s easily summarised by this quotation
“If you always do what you’ve always done,
then you’ll always get, what you’ve always got”

Analysing Sales Wins and Losses

From the Sales View

Many sales organisations continue to repeat their mistakes in deal after deal.
They somehow hope for a different result. Why to they do this?

People really want to avoid awkward conversations and conflict.
Many will do anything just to risk an awkward conversation and offending someone.
The sales person who has just lost a deal is feeling pretty miserable anyway.
Many sales people think it’s better that we avoid the conversation completely.

What about the the client side?

Usually clients have got to know us really well during their buying cycle.
They are genuine people too and have no desire to hurt our feelings.
They often provide half-hearted excuses, sensing that we don’t really want to know.
We think clients do this to protect our feelings.

What can we really learn from these experiences?

Total Quality Management (TQM) tells us that everything is a process.
We take the sting out of the analysis by looking at the process first.
Then at the skills of the people operating the process.
Then resources they have to hand.
This way we are constantly learning from each sales cycle, eliminating errors, and work out what works.
We gradually improve and refine our end-to-end sales process.

What if each and every lost sale helped us identify one thing we could do better?
What if we communicate that one thing to our whole sales force?
What if every sale we win helps us to differentiate ourselves or gives a nugget of competitive insight?

Is Win-Loss Analysis really that simple?
The short answer NO it’s not .
It can expose some less than great things about your sales processes.
It can lead to some difficult conversations.
It requires a commitment from the Leadership team to not turn it into a witch-hunt.
If it ever does watch out for passive resistance on a massive scale.

Rick Marcet author of the recently published book Win Loss Reviews explains it can deliver benefits like:
“For those B2B sales organisations prepared to undertake a little research and ready to acknowledge the flaws in their sales process…
the tangible deliverables from a well-executed Win Loss Analysis programme can include:

  • Improved personal and company-wide win ratios
  • Quicker close rates
    • Through understanding the factors delaying sales cycles in the past
  • The ability to establish clear win/loss benchmarks
    • Then sharing these across the organisation
  • Dramatic improvement in competitive win rates
    • Through understanding losses against key competitors
  • A culture of continual improvement
  • A more client-centric sales model
  • A mechanism to track sales effectiveness

 

When you begin to uncover successful sales strategies or key differentiators in your sales approach, which you may not have been aware of , then it gets interesting. The opportunity to highlight what you learn to your entire sales force is immensely valuable. Add in the specific competitive insights that the programme will add on topics like your pricing, positioning, sales strategy, and deal crafting… Now you begin to realise the potential returns that Win-Loss Analysis programme can provide to a B2B sales organisation.

In the end, the decision is based on a simple cost-benefit analysis.

What does it cost us to lose a deal?

  • How much margin on the initial sale?
  • How much do we lose over the life of a customer?
  • Add the cost of sales people time
  • Any time / cost of pre-sales consulting?
  • What cost to bid and generate a professional proposal?
  • How much to do our due diligence?

Then ask…

Do we believe we’ll win more business if we adopt lessons from the programme?
How many deals will we need to win to pay for it?
Is it really likely that our win rate will improve that much?
What if we improve the win rate but only in a small way?
How much more margin will we make ?

Compare that with the cost of the Rainmaker Coaching team doing this for us?

What kind of ROI does that give us?                Can we say it is worth it?

If YES…    email info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk with your arithmetic or call us.