The Key to Lasting Results: Sales Team Participation
Running a win-loss program can be difficult, especially when sales rep engagement is low. Win-Loss Analysis creates game-changing coaching opportunities for sales teams, but your sales team must be a focus. If you’re asking yourself how to implement a win-loss analysis program, sales team engagement must be a top priority.
If you’re a sales leader, take a minute to think about your end users. Who comes to mind? Individual employees at your buyer’s company who use the product you sell every day? Your point of contact who champions your product within their organization? How about your sales reps?
Your sales reps are your end users, too.
For a win-loss program to succeed, sales leaders must ensure sales intelligence program goals align with individual seller motivations. This may sound daunting, but the good news is that most people’s core motivations in business are the same: earn more money, faster, and with less pain. Across thousands of interviews of buyers and sellers alike, this trend comes up time and time again.
When thinking about product marketing and sales, we regularly consider the buyer’s end user and how they interact with our product. But how often are you considering how your win-loss analysis program helps them earn more money, faster, and with less pain?
Automation, communication, and iteration – key to program success.
There are three key components to ensuring program success: automation, communication, and iteration.
- Automation reduces the time any sales rep spends away from selling your product. This ensures your program isn’t seen as a bureaucratic hurdle to overcome and lets your sellers focus on what matters most.
- Communication makes sure you understand what sales reps need to know about buyers and competitors. It also makes the stakes of your program clear and gives sales reps a strong reason for participating. This ensures that your program is seen as an opportunity to improve your sales reps’ lives.
- Iteration drives better execution by using buyer feedback to fine tune sales strategies and using sales team feedback to fine tune your buyer interview process. This helps you avoid wasting money answering questions that nobody is asking. Additionally, it also makes it easier to turn buyer feedback into higher win rates.
Automate to reduce hours spent away from selling.
Spending hours every week identifying which contacts to submit for a win-loss interview does not help you or your sales reps. In any sales organization, your sales reps’ time is best spent in the field, working with buyers to close deals. Every hour spent away from selling your product is less revenue generated for your business and less commission for your sales rep. If your program becomes seen as something that gets in the way of closing deals, it is doomed to fail.
Here, avoiding frustration is critical.Making sure your program isn’t annoying to participate in is table stakes. Automating data collection takes this a step further by getting program administration out of the way and letting sellers focus on what matters most.
Communicate proactively to cultivate curiosity and set the stage.
If the goal of interview automation is to limit frustration, the goal of program communication is to cultivate curiosity.
This is your opportunity to create interest among sales reps by ensuring your program answers the questions they care about. If you ask questions that aren’t important to your sellers, it doesn’t matter how easy it is to submit a profile for interview. For your program to succeed, it is imperative to show sales reps that participation is a path to higher earnings.
Proactive communication can also set the stage for future sales coaching efforts. Working with sellers to identify the goals of a win-loss analysis program can create additional buy-in for the program. By investing in communication early in the process, leaders can give their teams more skin in the game and increase their reps’ receptiveness to sales coaching.
Iterate to stay relevant and drive continued growth.
To paraphrase the famous Prussian general Helmuth von Moltke, no plan ever survives first contact with reality. While proactive planning is necessary for program success, it should not be the end of your efforts.
Often when performing primary research, we don’t know what we don’t know. A strong set of compelling research questions helps us better understand our buyers, but it also often reveals additional questions to answer. Rather than treating your win-loss program as having a set beginning and ending, treating it as a cycle of learning and adjusting can drive continued learning and growth.
Continually learning from buyer feedback can help tailor your sales strategies to close deals faster and win more consistently. And modifying your sales intelligence strategy based on sales rep input can help you ensure that your win-loss analysis efforts continue to be relevant.`
If you don’t make the program work for your sales team, they won’t make it work for you.
Many times, sales leaders start a win-loss analysis program without considering whether the program interferes with or amplifies the efforts of their sales team. For these leaders, getting reps interested in a win-loss program quickly becomes a chore. Pestering sellers for more sample and trying to get teams interested in report findings becomes frustrating, and getting results becomes an uphill battle. These initiatives are at the highest risk of low seller engagement, anemic sample, and program failure.
In contrast, successful win-loss programs are often run by leaders with a clear desire to help their sales reps succeed. Win-loss programs run by a leader with a clear vision tend to have greater seller buy-in and receive clearer, more actionable feedback from buyers.
Automate, communicate, and iterate to make sure your win-loss program makes life easier—not harder—for your sales reps. In doing so, you can set your team and yourself up for consistent, sustainable success.
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