People in sales understand win rates. While most claim they measure and use them to drive execution improvements, this is not what we observe.
Win rates are the number of times you win deals that you have competed in. In a complex B2B sales world, these wins lead to revenue, customers, and confidence in your team. They are the one key metric that is easy to measure in sales cycles for every rep, pre-sales person, and products at the individual unit level. Win rates can be used for numerous roll ups depending upon organization structure, management and functions in your company. Many companies do this well and analyze this Big data with AI and BI tools. They use this metric as an after-action report on what has occurred to give the INSIGHTS to both predict the future and make necessary changes. However, we find that many hot growth SAAS companies are measuring it inaccurately; not using it to implement incremental improvement or innovation; or simply not measuring it at all. We believe that this can be dangerous; getting stuck with the wrong Status Quo as the competitive landscape shifts.
I recently asked Bill, the VP of sales of a $120M SAAS company, if he used this metric. He answered: “of course, doesn’t everyone?” My initial assumption then was that he understood this metric and knew how to use it effectively but was surprised when he told me his company’s win rate overall was 60%. As a healthily skeptical person, I told him that this was excellent, especially when Sirius Decisions research data reveals that best in class B2B enterprise sales companies have a 40% win rate, 30% loss rate, and 30% of the deals going away. How could this company have these awesome statistics? Unfortunately, I discovered they did not include all the total deals that quota sales people put time and effort into. Their numerator was skewed in a way that gave them a false sense of success, not looking deeper for operational improvements. As we helped them review this data more accurately, they discovered some ideas for improvement that caused large positive effects on their performance, revenues, and profit. If Sirius research statistics are accurate, depending on your revenue curve, winning one or two more deals per person can have a tremendous affect on the company’s performance. Knowing the types of deals that you lose or never sign can be essential in collaborative planning discussions to qualify out early or change strategy and tactics.
Another VP of sales I interviewed mentioned sales has changed and asked if there were other activity measures that were more important to measure. At CI2, we believe both. Sales has changed with buyer 2.0 having the ability to get more information and less time to meet with vendors. What is not true is that we are still in a game where winning means something. Although MRR, ARR, and retention metrics are important today, the core KPI of win rates is still one of the most reliable ways to assess and measure performance. When reps know their win rates by year compared to their peers, they will become more curious about what the “best of the best” are doing to achieve higher performance. When product managers know their win rates they will get more curious about what they need to do to make the product more competitive. When sales managers and VPs of sales know their collective and individual win rates, they will be able to assess their sales leaders, teams and sales operations to determine needed changes. Win rates are a way to discuss what’s really happening and engage in a dialogue about how to continuously change to increase performance. It’s a number that everyone should know and be working hard to improve just as it is in all other team sports where millions of dollars are at stake.
At CI2, we believe there needs to be a rebirth of the Win Rate metric. With all the advanced technology tools and data available it should be easier than ever to capture, report and slice in dice in ways to help companies and peoples improve and innovate.
If you are interested in challenging your usage of this metric, click the questionnaire link below. We are here to help you unlock more of your potential.
Connecting with and understanding customers’ business problems and personal implications is more important today than ever. But in this fast-paced world, bombardment of digital messages, priorities shifting on a dime and never enough time, it’s not easy. However, when you don’t fully understand your customer, you are at great risk.
One of CI Squared’s clients, a large software company, discovered the consequences of not taking the time to truly understand their customer. After an initial demo/presentation to this long-standing customer, CI Squared’s client received negative feedback that they were losing. They were given another chance and came back 8 months later with a renewed presentation. The 12 members of the team devoted their time and effort to the new presentation during these 8 months, but they were again rejected by the customer. What happened?
CI Squared’s lost deal analysis revealed that at the crux of why they lost this sale was a lack of understanding. No one on the deal team connected with the operational team or key leaders. They were not able to uncover the real implications of their customer’s business problem and the time frame needed to solve it successfully. Without these insights, they were proposing a perceived solution they thought would fill their customer’s needs. However, from the customer’s viewpoint it did not hit the mark and would take too long. By contrast, the competition had built strong connections with workers and executives, they understood the business problem, motivations of the individuals, and the sense of urgency needed. The customer’s team felt that the competitor “got them” and could deliver a better, timelier solution.
The damages were huge: time, resources, and opportunity cost. They could directly measure that they lost a 3-year, $1.5 million deal in an existing account, $4.5M. How about the investment in people and time or the opportunity cost? How much did it affect their standing with the customer and confidence?
CI Squared believes that better discovery which leads to understanding the customer, both business and personal, is critical in today’s world. How do you help your customer uncover their real problems and deliver insights when they don’t have time? Better human interaction through empathic communication can help you gather the Customer’s whole story and is at the heart of winning today. Customers want to be understood and want to buy from sales teams that give them insights and confidence. But we often rush to talking about our product or service vs staying in the moment and saying, “Tell me more.”
The world has changed and Buyer 2.0 with it. They do not want the same old sales teams who just pitch their products. They have seen that movie before. Your old sales techniques are not enough today to give you the ability to make a strong human connection and listen well enough to get their complete Story with empathy. However, most salespeople have not been exposed to new and innovative ideas and tools. Why not? Some don’t realize the magnitude of this problem on their performance. Some are complacent because change is hard. Some just won’t invest in their people to fill these GAPS. And some think they do it well already which the research debunks.
You can challenge yourself to see how big of a GAP this is individually or organizationally. Benchmark your win rate % against industry averages. Sirius Decisions statistics show that if you count every deal you work on, best in class B2B sales organizations win 40%, lose 30%, and the final 30% just do not buy. We believe that if you calculate this accurately, you will want to do something now. We can help you dramatically shift these ratios.
Or, why aren’t you breaking through the clutter?
You may ask yourself this question after a series of unanswered emails or a promising deal cut short. Here’s why. People don’t have time. What our research shows us is that the amount of incoming content to every person is staggering. “According to Time.com, the average person looks at his/her phone 46 times every day (up from 33 looks per day in 2014). Our new-ish -“always on” culture, complete with the enormous pressure of the expectation of instant responses, effects everything from the quality of our sleep to the depth of our relationships”. (Forbes)
In a fast paced world filled with overwhelming amounts of external and internal stimuli, people are of course:
- Busier than ever before
- Shifting priorities constantly
- Answering too many messages
- Bombarded with content
But if you do not realize this, your message or attempt to get through to a customer will undoubtedly fall flat. The most important mission of sales people and sales methods & techniques is to break through the static. Many current sales methodologies are stuck in the past, not reflecting the new behaviors of Buyer 2.0
Lack of understanding and not connecting personally with customers is a trait that unsuccessful sales people possess in abundance. They hog the conversation with chatter, solutions, features and functions instead of listening. They do not listen to or understand the customer. Humans crave emotional connections and a conversation that uncovers insights. According to this article on Openview, the top sales performers listen 54% of the time and talk 46% of the time. It’s not just that a conversation (not an interrogation) is happening, but the interesting topics that weave in and out of the conversation. What kind of sales conversations are you having? Is it just product, solutions, features and functions? Are you having trouble understanding and making a connection with your harried customers? Are you listening with empathy?
We believe that the world of work is changing dramatically and if you do not update your communication skills to have more insightful business conversations, you will struggle mightily.
Evaluate critically your business conversations to determine what needs to change and invest now to innovate and grow.