A couple of weeks ago I found myself in another such conversation with a marketing manager for a global company that sells a very specialized product. As I have heard so many times before, he told me how their win rate has been declining over the past couple of years. The cause of which is a perplexing problem.
He explained how there are three major steps in their Sales Force Process. The first two, according to him, are working just fine. It isn’t until the third step is reached that his sales team hits a wall.
He realizes there is something going on to cause a decline in win rates. But his team is good and they of course build very strong relationships. It could not have anything to do with sales or marketing.
- If you were to lose your job tomorrow, which of your customers that you have a great relationship with can you ask to let you sleep at their place after you lose your job?
- Which of your buyers with a great relationship can you rely on to feed you when you do not make your bonus and your company does not meet revenue targets?
These questions usually put the idea of a ‘great relationship’ into perspective and allow one (meaning team, sales force...) to look into a mirror. Then and only then can you start the search for solutions to the declining win rates and sales. A good place to start is doing a detailed customer mapping of a current opportunity in its earlier stages. This way you can begin to recognize what you do and do not know about your customer.
By Chris Houghtaling