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Improving Your Win/Lose Sales Record

Last week, I spoke to a group of executives about improving their business planning process by increasing their consideration of strategic issues, market dynamics and resource/employee development.

One of the other elements in effective business planning is holding a formal quarterly review process where the management team evaluates the quality of business execution and operations, marketing and sales scorecards. During the session, I revealed a variety of metrics we use to assist our clients on improving their sales and profits. The first sales-related metric I recommend is the "won/lost ratio," or the number of proposals delivered versus the number of opportunities won. This is measured by your sales team and by individual salesperson.

The reason this ratio is important is it will tell sales leadership if your salesperson is qualifying properly, delivering enough proposals or has other sales-related issues. From this ratio you can also begin to build the balance of your pipeline metrics, working backward in your funnel. However, that is not our topic today.

What can improve your won/lost ratios? Better pre-call planning. Let me summarize a few questions the sales manager and salesperson can use to improve their preparation. (If you would like our Pre-Call Planning Sales Worksheet, which is part of our Online Sales Management Toolkit, simply send me an e-mail.)

Consider each of these issues as you plan your sales call:

  • What is he/she in charge of or expected to manage?
  • What does he/she want to achieve? How does she/he measure success? How are they evaluated?
  • What is considered a success on this proposal?
  • What external factors or industry trends might make it more difficult to reach their goals?
  • What likely strategies and initiatives are in place to help achieve their objectives?
  • What likely issues does the organization face that could prevent goal achievement?
  • Who are the peers (subordinates, superiors, outsiders with whom they frequently interact)? Who has formal power or informal power?
  • What's their status quo relevant to your product/service/solution? What would it take to overcome status quo?
  • What is the personality style of each of the individuals on the call?
  • How will I open the call? What is the objective of the call? How will I close the call?

While these are just a few of questions a professional must consider prior to any sales call, it is also important to recognize that sales conditions can change at any time and constant reviews of your sales strategies will sharpen your skills -- but, more importantly, increase your won/lost ratio. The bottom line: Increasing won/lost ratios means an increase in commissions. Need any more encouragement?

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 08, 2011