How Losing Can Actually Be Winning
Standard operating procedure is that we invest time and effort tracking the time it takes to close a deal (WIN). More specifically, we are measuring the time from initial engagement with a prospective client to the point we are conducting business. It’s certainly an important benchmark to track, however, let’s think more about the opposite metric - the time it takes to Lose. Do you track this number?
For those of us who have never really thought about dropping a few pounds, here’s a personal perspective. A few months ago, I came to realize that losing weight is like anything else, it’s a process. The process includes a plan, required actions, investment and measuring results.
Time out, Frank, this is a business blog site.
OK, thanks for indulging me.
The same Losing to WIN experience works with pipeline management and the sales process.
Generally, your time invested to Lose is at least two times the time it takes to WIN. So, a 90-day sales cycle equates to at least 180 days of time spent on an opportunity that never materializes.
Yes, I understand that circumstances on individual opportunities may prove positive to invest the extra time, but, again, generally too much time is spent Losing.
So, why should your goal be to Lose fast?
- Pipeline management: Invest your time wisely.
As discussed in a previous blog, Increasing Sales Velocity, there are four components of pipeline management that influence where we spend our time.
- Increasing the # of opportunities
- Increasing the $ value of opportunities
- Increasing the % win ratio
- Decreasing the length of the sales cycle
While all four areas are important, the one that has the most impact is WIN Ratio. If you are decreasing the length of the sales cycle, you are able to spend more productive time on your qualified opportunities and, therefore, increasing your % win ratio. Pretty obvious, yet the metric remains, it takes longer to lose than it does to win.
Like a dog with a bone, you’re committed, tenacious, stubborn, determined, single-minded. You just won’t let go! Listen, I get it. It looks and feels good to show “activity”. Stop kidding yourself. If you have a grip on a loser, let it go! This excess “weight” is just taking time away from WINNING.
- Sales process: Follow the plan.
Adhering to your sales process should give you many cues to indicate when you should let the damn bone go.
Stay on your plan:
These were my required actions to advance my process. Short-cutting even one of these required actions meant minimizing my chances to achieve my goal.
The same is true for following your sales process. Skipping or not completing just one required action, prematurely moving your opportunity through the gate to the next sales stage, means that you are beginning to sniff for that bone, instead of investing in a qualified opportunity to win. For example:
- Did you research the company?
- Have you completed your Pre-call plan?
- Did you meet the Key Decision-Maker?
- Have you gained approval to begin a Discovery and/or Assessment process?
- Does your Value Proposition align with the potential clients needs/wants?
- Does your prospective client demonstrate a commitment to solving a particular problem?
Remember that each completed action step increases the probability of a successful close, implementation and WIN.
So, long story short, I developed and implemented my plan and I dropped 50 pounds. Here’s the WIN part: blood pressure, down; pre-diabetic, gone; sleep apnea, gone; and I am able to tie my shoes without blacking out.
At Butler Street, we help our clients implement a solid sales process that generates WINNING results through pipeline discipline. Is your time spent Losing outweighing your time spent Winning? Let’s start a dialogue.
Frank Costantino is a Managing Partner at Butler Street, a leading management consulting, training and research firm that focuses on client and talent development. Prior to joining Butler Street, Costantino accumulated over three decades of successful sales and executive leadership experience. His passion for sales discipline and process has driven practical solutions for sales organization development, revenue and operating profit growth.
Costantino has been recognized with numerous sales and sales leadership awards. He has also received top honors from his peers and direct reporting teams in VOA rankings, and has also served on the Advisory Board of Target Account Selling. He holds a B. S. in Business Management from NYIT.