Working in sales can be a turbulent experience. When you deliver your numbers and meet your targets, life is grand. Relatively stress free. But when you’re chasing targets and missing numbers, it can all seem too much.
The dreaded, “No thanks, we’re not interested…” reply, that makes your heart sink just a little.
You spend weeks or even months building a relationship, investing time and resources into a potential deal, only for it to fall through. But don’t despair, you’re not alone. Recent studies have shown:
- Only 13% of leads convert into opportunities
- It takes approx. 84 days to convert a lead into an opportunity.
- Only 6% of sales opportunities convert from opportunity to deal.
Whilst this doesn’t make for the most motivational of reading, it does raise the question of what to do? Just keep ploughing on and keep prospecting? What about those opportunities that have slipped away? Rather than shrug it off and move onto the next contact, surely it would be of benefit to understand why the deal was lost.
Here are few ways a good CRM system can help you turn your lost deals into sales opportunities:
Everyone remembers to follow up with new clients and ask for referrals or references, but what about the lost deals? Finding out the reason why a deal was lost can be priceless. We can all learn from criticism and failure and yet, some 60% of sales execs. will admit that they don’t follow up with or interview lost customers.
Automate your processes and workflows in your CRM, so that when a deal is lost, these tasks are automatically added to your flow. Make it a part of the sales process and take the feedback onboard for the next deal.
A simple follow up could have huge potential. Why did you choose a competitor? What could have changed your mind / what was missing?
Your prospect(s) will likely appreciate the effort and may well refer you or speak of you to their colleagues. In an ideal world, they’d be so impressed that they may even reconsider. And with all of the data gathered in your CRM, you will be able to analyse why deals were lost, address any training or performance issues and improve for the next deal.
Analyse Your Sales Process
In order to perform a thorough data analysis, one needs detailed records and enough info to give a true assessment. By tracking your sales process and making notes in your CRM as you go, all the information you need to evaluate your actions can easily retrieved.
By doing so, you can uncover which steps were ineffective and by analysing the data, you should be able to pinpoint at which stage of sales process the sale dropped off. And from here, you can make the necessary changes to your process. e.g. using the analysis feature (in Livespace) to improve sales processes & results. This can help determine which stage of the sales process you or your team loses clients, and how effective your sales process is, clearly showing which action(s) in the process has the most impact when it comes to winning the deal.
Qualify Your Leads
If you are spending more time losing deals than winning, it’s not going to do much for your quota. Start by understanding your ideal customer profile and target demographic and identify ways to reach those prospects that fit the bill.
If your company or product has a broad customer base, ask yourself:
- Who are you most successful at selling to?
- What needs can we most easily address?
- Which companies have the best solution/need fit?
When you have a clear view of who your ideal customer is, be proactive. Identify the lost deals way before actually losing. If you find yourself saying “perhaps our solution isn’t a good fit, but I’ll try and make it work” – forget it. If you’ve never sold to that type of customer before, but you are willing to try – ask yourself if you may be simply wasting your time (and theirs)? If so, lose the deal, remove it from your pipeline and start focusing instead, on the deals you can win.
Keep the conversation going
Keep the conversation going. Otherwise referred to as lead nurturing. Studies have shown that up to 63% of the people requesting info, from your company today, will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.
Implement a social selling strategy to engage with your customers and provide relevant content when they need it. This can make a real difference when you are trying to close that sales opportunity in the future.
- Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Email marketing can also help engage with prospects, promoting new content, events and seminars or other news and updates.
So, don’t give up so easily. It’s always worth reaching out again to lost prospects, as you never know what might have changed over time for the both of you. It might be that your prospects’ needs weren’t addressed or finances changed over time, or some other reason that led to the sales opportunity slipping through your fingers.
Rather than moving onto the next contact and burning through your leads, take the time to reflect and analyse, heling turn every “No” or lost opportunity, into a potential for growth.