Losing is not a one dimensional challenge. The problem is almost never just a coaching problem. You can’t just focus on developing tools and tactics to defeat your most formidable competitor and then “hope” your win rate rises dramatically. You also can’t just rely on conducting a sales training class and expect results to rise and be sustained. Instead, let’s look at the most common causes of losing new business to see why coaching can be instrumental in the context of these challenges:
- Sales and Sales Management Talent – You could have the best products and a great sales methodology but if you don’t have the right people in your organization you will lose more often than you’d prefer. Which kind of talent is most important? I’d suggest sales management without hesitation. The reason is that great sales managers will hire great sales people, will develop B players into A’s and will move C players out of the business as quickly as practical. Great sales managers will also ensure that we are coaching the key opportunities and developing the strategies and tactics to win these critical deals. Do you have the right sales management talent in your organization?
- Sales and marketing strategy – there are several components in this category that can contribute to sales excellence (or mediocrity):
- Segmentation – do you have clarity on the ideal target markets and clients that represent the best fit for your solution? If not, you could have a great weapon, but aimed at the wrong target can result in shooting something near and dear to you (like your foot).
- Solutions – do you have the right solution that the market needs and do your solutions have a competitive price/value equation? If not, the greatest sales, management, and coaching in your industry will not overcome this liability.
- Sales and marketing tools – do you have the collateral, case studies, tools, and roadmap that you provide your sales teams to make them as efficient and effective as possible? If not, your sales reps will “wing it” to see what works individually and you won’t leverage the best practices that your best people employ to make themselves successful.
- Arguably the biggest root cause of losing too often: you lack effective disciplines and tools for deal strategy and coaching. When coaching is done well – a lot of the problems outlined above are mitigated because:
- You’ll get out of deals you don’t belong chasing – particularly early in the buying and selling process
- You’ll see, first-hand, the strengths and weaknesses of the sales people and managers on your team that you don’t see otherwise witness
- You’ll get a lot smarter about how to understand and defeat your key competitors and leverage and apply the knowledge you gain in this process to the myriad of other deals in which you compete against these same predictable, formidable competitors.
- And most importantly, you’ll end up winning more than your fair share of new business!
What about your team – are you winning more than your fair share of new business? I always look forward to your feedback!