By Mark Allen Roberts
“What is the quickest way to increase my sales and profits…turn my sales around?” This question is by far the most frequent question business leaders and owners have asked me over the last 30 years. I wish there was a magic “create sales velocity pill” we could all take and everything would be fixed tomorrow, but unfortunately it does not work that way. It took time to get where you are today, and it will take time to get sales and profits back on course. However the quickest way I have experienced to turn sales around and quickly increase sales and profits is; Win Loss Analysis.
What is Win Loss Analysis?
If you are not familiar with conducting win loss analysis, let me share from 45,000 ft what we are doing. When you conduct Win Loss Analysis what you are desperately seeking is the answers to a few questions;
Why don’t buyers buy from me?
What criteria are they using to make buying decisions?
What process are they using to make those buying decisions?
Before we go much further I want you to add the word “today” behind each of the above questions. Why? I have helped so many companies over the years who at one time clearly knew their market, buyers and how their buyers bought so well that they could almost finish buyer’s sentences for them. They built repeatable sales processes based on their market knowledge, created sales tools, and taught their sales teams how to use them. The trouble is markets are dynamic and constantly changing, evolving and we must constantly be aware of the answers to the above questions. Fail to understand you’re your buyers are buying today and your salespeople will resort to feature and benefit BINGO hoping they figure it out and close the sale. However buyers want to buy from partners who know them, understand their problems and quickly demonstrate they are capable of solving their problems. When your salespeople resort to playing BINGO, they become just like every other sales guy trying to sell me something and not help me.
If you plan to take my advice I want to share rules I learned the hard way…
Never let the salesperson that was involved in the sale or attempted sale to conduct the interviews. Why?
- They fail to listen to details we will need in the next step
- They filter what they hear
- If sales was won, it was won because of salesperson ability and relationships, if lost it was price( an price is rarely on the list of why people do not buy) The biggest reason is when a sales person starts hearing why they did not win they start selling and stop listening and the interview is pretty much over.
- Gain senior management buy in to make changes as needed early ,their commitment if you conduct win loss analysis you will act on the results. They say the pain of change must be less than the pain of not changing. If your senior leadership team is not committed to make changes you will find some very interesting information but sales will be told to;”just make it happen” or “try harder”.
- Never conduct a win loss interview with a customer currently in one of the stages of your sales process on a key sale.
Once you gather information from your current customers, customers you lost and potential customers you have always wanted, you need to group like buyers. Once you group like buyers map how they buy and the criteria that is important to them.
Mirror what you have learned against how your team sells today and the tools they use. Quickly you will identify new tools needed based on how buyers are buying today. One common outcome is your current repeatable sales process will change based on the needs of buyers in your market(s) today.
One word of caution again and that is you must have senior leadership buy in to act on what you learn. The only time I have not seen this process increase sales and profits is when I unknowingly enters a Borg Culture where this is how we do things around here trumps achieving sales and profits objectives. If you find you are in a Borg Culture the best solution is to hire a consultant to conduct the win loss analysis. Senior leaders in these cultures are often much more attentive and willing act on information from a prophet from another land than an internal employee with fresh ideas that seems like they are not on board.
Do you want (need) to increase sales and profits quickly?
Become intimately aware of how your buyers are buying today!
If you would like to learn more about win loss I recommend the following links;
What will a Win/Loss ….