Everyone wants to win. Companies love tracking sales growth. But what about the losses? Don’t overlook them. They are important to your company as they are a learning tool.
In the MediaPost article, “9 Metrics Every Company Should Use,” writer and senior vice president of strategy and solutions Martha Bush, suggests:
As the number of sales channels continues to increase, so has the need for organizations to get a strong, metrics-based grip on all that data to maximize their successes and learn from their failures.
Even though most people hate to dwell on their defeats, experts note, “moving on without reflecting on why you lost a sale can be a mistake.” As Susan Greco discusses in her Inc. article, “How to Set Up a Sales Tracking Process,” it is only through the analysis of losses that a company can identify their underlying weaknesses and determine how to improve.
For Greco that means finding out not only why you lost, but also why the other guys won:
It’s useful to get a price-to-value comparison of your company, which lost the business, versus the winner. You can also ask open-ended questions about competing products. What features did a rival product have that ours lacked? Was another product perceived to be a better value? A sales loss driven by pricing concerns may have nothing to do with the sales rep’s performance.
Finding out why a customer didn’t buy can give you valuable insights into your competitive positioning, value proposition, pricing model, and sales process.
Just because you lost a sale does not mean you fire the sales person. Work with the team to learn about what when right and what went wrong to avoid the same mistakes. This is on the job training, and sometimes it is painful. I have learned more coming in second than I have in winning the deal.
Don’t stop talking to the customers who didn’t choose you. Talk to them. Continue to build a relationship. Continue to send them valuable information that makes them better business people. Maybe the company that won the first deal stumbles, and you want to be there to catch a new customer. The long-term goal is to get them as a customer. This takes time, but good customers require a long-term commitment.
A successful sales team can learn from the misses. Each sales person should celebrate their wins, and discuss their losses. Have the team strategize why the company lost a deal will help everyone to come to grips with problems that can be corrected next time. If you have turn over in your sales team, tracking loses as well as wins helps the new sales people to come up to speed. Learn from your interactions with customers. The customer will like it, as you will be more responsive.
George Tyler, a serial entrepreneur, has developed the only consulting practice that focuses exclusively on strategic alliances and the implementation of the powerful Alliance Compass™ to accelerate global revenue growth. He helps companies find new routes to market and revenue growth.