What kind of car should you drive?
Answering that question with anything other than, "It depends," is irresponsible because there are so many variables. Choosing a car depends on budget, family size, how much stuff you load into your car, the length of your drives, the logo/ego influence, fit and function, ergonomics, appearance, perceived value, reliability, cost to drive it (gas/electric/mileage), and so much more.
If that makes senses, why do companies struggle when I am unable to instantly tell them what their win-rate or closing percentage should be?
There are so many the variables that can influence your sales win-rate and here are my top ten keys to win rates:
- Which stage of the pipeline is the win-rate calculated from? Lead? Suspect? Prospect? Qualified, Closable? It should be obvious that a higher win-rate correlates to measuring win-rates from the latest stage of the sales pipeline.
- How much competition is there? A higher win-rate will correlate with fewer competitors.
- How effectively do your salespeople handle the existence of competitors? Only 5% of all salespeople have the Sales DNA to attempt to eliminate the competition. This soars to 20% for top salespeople and Zero for the least effective salespeople. Higher win-rates correlate with the ability to eliminate the competition.
- How does your pricing compare? We can talk about selling value until the end of sales cycles, but if your salespeople haven't mastered selling value (consultative selling skills and a sales process that supports it are required), then the purchase will be based on price. A higher-win rate will correlate with a competitive price in a transactional sale but in a value-based sale, higher win-rates will correlate with the amount of perceived value. Only 31% of salespeople are value sellers. This increases to 95% of top salespeople and NONE of the least effective salespeople!
- What is the length of your sales cycle? The answer to the sales cycle question is less definitive. On the one hand, long sales cycles are very much a survival of the fittest and fewer competitors lead to a higher win-rate. On the other hand, long sales cycles are fraught with risk because many of these complex projects become de-prioritized, abandoned, or indefinitely delayed. Only 38% of all salespeople possess the capabilities to shorten long sales cycles, thereby gaining a competitive advantage. 73% of top salespeople have this ability but very few of the least effective salespeople.
- Is there a sales scorecard? A properly built scorecard awards points to conditions that are predictive of a win. A higher win-rate correlates to higher scores. Only 20% of all salespeople use a sales scorecard. 40% of top salespeople use a scorecard only 5% of the least effective salespeople use a scorecard. An 800% gap!
- How disciplined is the sales team? It requires discipline to follow the sales process, fully qualify opportunities, and not pursue opportunities that fail to meet the minimum required score. It also requires discipline to refrain from quoting opportunities that cannot be won. A higher win-rate correlates to discipline.
- When are proposals and quotes provided? Ideally, you would only provide a proposal for an opportunity on which you have already received a verbal go-ahead at which time your proposal is simply a formality. It should go without saying that a higher-win rate correlates to proposals provided as a formality. 80% of all salespeople are compelled to quote and/or propose and this is a very difficult mindset to change.
- What is the overall sales capability of your sales team? We see team scores range from the 30's to the 60's. It should go without saying that a higher win-rate correlates to a higher sales team capability score.
- How much training, coaching and role-playing does your sales team receive? The previous nine factors will help you determine what your win-rate is TODAY. High quality and ongoing sales training, sales coaching and daily role-playing maximize your ability to IMPROVE the win rate going forward, especially when the focus in on an optimized, milestone-centric and customer focused sales process, a consultative approach that develops listening and questioning skills, and the many nuances of selling value. A higher win-rate correlates with more training, coaching and role-playing.
The statistics and data shared in this article are from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations and assessments on more than 2.3 million salespeople. OMG measures all 21 Sales Core Competencies and an average of 10 attributes in each competency. You can view all 21 sales competencies here, and see how the scores compare for salespeople by percentile, in various industries, and even at your company. It's free to look!
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