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How to Fix Low Win Rates


metal bucket with holes at the bottom, water leaking out of the holes.


Last week I talked about the compounding effect of low win rates. Now let’s look at how to address it (how to right the ship, so to speak).


Before any problem can be fixed, we must get to the root cause first. (Just as we wouldn’t trust a doctor who prescribes antibiotics before understanding what’s causing the illness.)


Diagnosing the cause of low win rates


(Please note: the following examples are boiled down for simplicity’s sake. In real life, more factors would be taken into consideration.)


1.        When you look at the sales stages in your CRM, at what point are the majority of your team’s deals falling off?


 a. If it’s after the first discovery (and if a demo is presented in that first discovery) the team is most likely launching into a product pitch before finding the business case for why the buyer should buy at all.


 b. If it’s after several discoveries followed by a demo or proposal, the team is likely failing to connect specific features of the solution to the root cause of the buyer’s problems.


 c. If it’s after a proposal followed by price objections from the buyer, the team is likely failing to differentiate how they solve a business problem for the buyer better than the competition does.


 d. If it’s several months after demo/proposal (so the deal sits in the CRM for months on end) it might not have been a qualified opportunity to begin with.


2.        Look for evidence of the root cause you identified earlier. For example:


 a. If you suspect they’re launching into a product pitch before finding the business case for change, review the sales processes the team is asked to follow. Does your sales process require a demo in the first meeting?


 b. If you suspect the demos fail to connect specific features to the root cause of the buyer’s problems, review samples of your team’s demos. Do they flood the buyer with dozens of features that might be irrelevant? Does the seller mention specific root cause problems that they identified in the buyer’s world? If not, it’s time to overhaul the demo!


 c. If you suspect the team can’t differentiate how your solution solves a business problem better than the competitionpoll your team members and senior leadership. Ask them to articulate the answer to this question. If the answers are vague, and/or all over the map, it’s time to get clarity!


 d. If you suspect your pipeline is clogged with unqualified opportunities, review your qualification criteria. Does your team know what they are? If the qualification criteria start with “they need XYZ” or “they have a budget for XYZ” – you’re on the wrong track. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on qualification criteria!)


3.        And now: fix the problem! Once you’ve identified the root cause problem of low win rates, and you have evidence to back it up, now you know what needs to be addressed. 


Depending on what you’ve identified, this may look like:


 a. Revamping your sales process to allow for deeper discovery.


 b. Creating your Problem Identification Chart. This is where you get clear on the business problems you help solve for your customers. (DM me if you'd like a template of this chart.)


 c. Guiding your team to focus their demos only on what’s relevant to the buyer’s technical problems and business problems.


 d. Defining your qualification criteria, to make sure you don’t throw out potentially good leads, and to make sure you don’t take a buyer on a journey who was never qualified in the first place.


The outcome


Easier said than done? Yes.


But well worth the effort? Absolutely.


The result? More qualified deals that are more likely to close, with a resulting boost in win rates.


As the inverse of what I described in last week’s newsletter about the compounding negative effect of low win rates, the uptick in win rates will have a positive compounding effect. This means that:


  • Customer Acquisition Costs will drop

  • Positive momentum will lift morale and productivity in your team

  • Upper leadership will feel less pressure and more confidence in the team without feeling the need to micromanage activity levels


Ultimately, the whole point is to help everyone achieve their individual targets, and to help the sales organization achieve its overall targets – all while helping the buyer achieve their desired outcomes.





"How to Fix Low Win Rates"

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