“What is the quickest way to increase my sales and profits, and 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 with a 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 are the answers to a few questions:
- Why do buyers buy from me?
- 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 buyers’ 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 that markets are dynamic and constantly changing and evolving so we must constantly be aware of the answers to the above questions. Fail to understand how your buyers are buying today and your salespeople will resort to playing 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 salesperson trying to sell them something and not help them.
If you plan to take my advice I want to share three rules I learned the hard way:
- Never let the salesperson that was involved in the sale or attempted sale conduct the research interviews with past prospects. Why?
- They fail to listen to details we will need in the next step.
- They filter what they hear.
- From the salesperson’s perspective, if the sale was won, it was won because of the salesperson’s ability and relationships. If it was lost, it was lost to price (even though price is rarely on the list of why people do not buy).
- When a salesperson starts hearing why they did not win the sale, they start selling again and stop listening, which means the research interview is pretty much over.
- Gain senior management buy off early so that if you conduct win loss analysis you will be able to 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 change you will find some very interesting information, but sales will only 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. You will quickly 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 enter 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 an outside 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!
Mark Allen Roberts is a sales and profits turnaround expert. The president of one of his clients referred to him as a ”one man business accelerator.” He has used his “no smoke and mirrors” marketing and sales process for over 30 years and has consistently helped his clients achieve explosive growth. He is the author of the book titled, Branding Backwards, a popular marketing and sales blog www.nosmokeandmirrors.com and is currently working on his new book, 10 Biblical Principles To Grow Your Company Profitably. Mark is often called on to conduct keynote addresses and onsite seminars to help companies tune in to their market and buyers.
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