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Top performing sales teams and sales people have better control of where they spend their effort.

A disciplined approach to selling can dramatically improve your bottom line by controlling cost of sales and improving returns.

We recently researched opportunity management in B2B and found some interesting results. The very best companies win over 60% of the deals they pursue. That way better than average performers who win around 40% or poorer performers winning under 30%.

In B2B more than one-quarter of all opportunities are never procured (that’s right, over 25%). This represents a huge drain on time, effort and cost chasing deals that never happen. How about you?

To improve performance you must focus:

Focus sales engagement

The landscape is getting more competitive and often more complex so you need to choose where to play. On average B2B deals involve over 5 decision makers and differentiating your offer requires focused engagement. The best sales people ruthlessly focus on winnable deals, not chasing deals they believe will distract them from success.

Our recent research showed us that the best performers work on 35% fewer opportunities yet engage with customers 2.4 times more often during an average sales process.

Spending more time with specifically chosen customers will give you the relationships and dialogue to better identify their needs, pain points and potential areas for value. As a result the customer is likely to buy more often and you can up-sell for higher values.

Counting the cost of customer engagement on lost deals must include the opportunity cost of preparation, travel and meeting time. This can range from £75 to over £250 per engagement for more complex deals and will soon add up.

Focus on Winnable deals

The best performers will no-bid 2.8 times more often than the rest, yet win far higher percentage of their pipeline.

Getting a bid our of the door will often involve people from right across your business as you go through reviews and approvals. Spreading your employees across fewer deals will save significant amounts of time and improve productivity.

The cost of preparing proposals includes writing, review and production can range from £50/$75 (for simple proposals) to more than 3% of opportunity value in more complex bids. It is possible to control these costs by making better choices.

Focus on sales capability development

Sales people are your most valuable yet probably your most expensive asset. It is important to develop the sales capability in a focused way.

The best sales leaders are more likely to consistently review and coach key deals. They explore the how to win more often than average performers and use a consistent sales methodology to enhance the sales process. This approach will encourage teams to explore ‘what they don’t yet know’ as well as ‘what they know’. This is where deals are won and lost and a sales methodology will help sales people make the right choices

Successful development is more likely to come from ‘on-the-job’ repetition (doing it) rather than stand alone training courses that are often forgotten inside 30 days. Repetition of the skills you require will embed and change behaviours.

Focus on Simplicity

We all know the best stuff is simple, understandable and easy. The complicated stuff is rarely effective in driving sales transformation. The best will focus on the fundamentals of success.

What will you do to achieve a step change in your performance? Take a look under the bonnet of your sales engine and ask the question, what would a 1% improvement mean to you?

How Outside In can help.

Our DealSheet application for your CRM is a simple and effective approach to embed greater levels of support and discipline into your approach. It helps sales people to make the right choices about where to play. It helps sales managers understand how their team are performing and use this insight to coach for improved performance. DealSheet is available for direct sales teams and partner sales teams who sell through a channel have their own specific version.



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