It is commonly reported that a good sales rep has a win rate around 35% and anything significantly under that indicates a problem. So if you are under that magic number or even just too close for comfort, how do you improve? There's no cliffhanger here, the best way to solve your win rate problems is to focus on sales coaching and sales process. You probably already knew that but are you doing the specific things to make sure your sales coaching and sales processes are on par to make your sales organization best-in-class?
Before you can worry about sales coaching, you have to take a solid look at your sales process and see if it is focusing on the right aspects of your buyer's experience. If your sales process isn't tailored to the way your buyer buys.
Stages are essentially the file cabinet drawers of your pipeline. You can have as many or as few as you like but you should have them and have a clear definition of what each stage means in regards to your process. They are very important when it comes to identifying issues with your win rates, though. When you break down your sales process into clearly defined stages, you have a better chance of seeing where your deals begin to fall out of your pipeline. Remember, as a sales manager, you want to build this process with your reps in mind so make sure to include them in this process and to ensure you have the buy-in of your best reps. For more detailed advice on building out stages, you can check out Part I and Part II of our post.
If stages are the drawers of the file cabinet, then milestones are the folders inside. (Click to Tweet) Your milestones are the activities that must happen within your sales process to ensure that deal actually closes. For example, in our sales process, if a sales rep does not get sign off from the manager of the CRM and at least one of the Sales VPs (depending on the size of the company) we know that there's no way we can say that the deal will close. Your milestones are typically harder to agree on and are more fluid than the stages but they are very important to have. To find your milestones, meet with your sales reps and make a list of the events that absolutely must happen for your deals to close. They may be unique to certain products or customers but list them all out first and then you can rank them later. Next, sort them into which stages in the process they belong. Establishing milestones will ensure that your reps are always driving the deal forward and aren't being held up or blindsided by important events that they forgot about or didn't account for. If you want more details on establishing milestones, check out this guest post from expert sales process consultant, Richard Harris.
Once you've laid out an agreed upon sales process, the next step to solving your win rate woes is to formalize your sales coaching. Now that you have your sales process figured out, you should be very targeted in working with reps who struggle with a certain phase of the sales process. For example, if you have a sales rep that has a problem with moving deals past the qualifying stage, then maybe you need to work with reps in doing a better job seeing through the prospects initial excitement and actually identifying their ability to sign and pay. Sales coaching is probably something you do every day, but having an informal sales coaching system can be detrimental to your reps even if you are very specific in what you coach them on. You want to make sure that your rep is prepared for their coaching session and that you are not using more time than you need. The worst thing you can do as a sales coach it to bog your reps down with coaching and keep them from having time to sell. We also have this 3 step guide if you want to learn more about how to be an effective sales coach.
Bonus: Utilize the Advances in Sales Technology
A recent study by Aberdeen Research found that Best-in-class companies are 33% more likely to use sales analytics solutions specifically designed to support forecasting. It's no surprise that the companies that are the best in their industry adopt technology. To be the best you have to most quickly, effectively, and intelligently. Everyone must be on the same page all the time and problems must be resolved quickly. If you're looking to boost your win rates and have identified a part of your sales process that could use some automation, check out these 5 tools that every sales team should have. Sales tools can seem like an arduous and expensive undertaking, but the right vendors can help your team improve in the areas needed by making it easy to follow a process and give them help when they need it.
The cause of why your win rates are improving can sometimes seem to be a trip down a deep, dark rabbit hole. If you dedicate your attention to improving your process, coaching, and investment in sales technology you will see improvements. However, if you feel like you aren't improving at the rate that you want to improve or to the magnitude, consider giving TopOPPS a look. You can build your entire sales process in our tool, be notified on areas where your sales team struggles and the reps that need to be coached, and have confidence that you are actually improving every sales period.