Hot Pursuit of a Win Can Backfire

By David Yesford(傅大卫)

Salespeople love to win, but hate to lose. And sales management applauds this drive, and wants to help salespeople win, but win the right business. The key is, the hot pursuit of a win can backfire if salespeople are going after deals that aren’t profitable.

So how can salespeople, sales managers, and organizations increase win rates and profitability? The short answer—discipline!

Discipline starts by clearly understanding what the customer organization is trying to accomplish—the business impact. That sounds simple but, in my experience dealing with sales managers around the world, I often hear that their salespeople cannot articulate what the customer is trying to accomplish from a business perspective. Additionally, they tell me that their salespeople have a hard time articulating how the customer defines value. These two points serve as the bedrock of a disciplined approach. Once they are understood, you can move to answer 3 basic questions.

  1. Probability—Will the customer buy something? Is there urgency to solve the problem or any specific compelling event? Is the initiative strategically important? Many a salesperson has invested time on an opportunity, only to step back and realize that the customer has no intention of buying anything. This speaks to increased win rates, and if the answer to this question is no, discipline says to move on to another opportunity.
  2. Value—Does this opportunity have value for me and my company? Is the potential revenue enough? What about the margins? On the cost side, how much of your time is involved? And what about the time spent by an executive or other company resource? This speaks to profitability, and if it is too low, discipline says to move on to another opportunity.
  3. Position—Will the customer buy from me? Does your offer have any advantage (over that of competitors) to solving the customer’s business issue? Does your customer see the value in your offering? If the solution isn’t valued, discipline says to reconfigure a new solution or stop pursuing this opportunity.

These Probability, Value, and Position analysis questions are intended to invite dialog within the selling organization, not inspection by the sales manager. Have a “Should we pursue?” conversation using evidence gathered from multiple sources.

We love salespeople for their persistence and desire to win a deal. Taking a disciplined approach with involvement and direction from the sales manager will help you and your organization win more business, and win more of the right business.


David Yesford(傅大卫)

作为Wilson Learning 全球资深副总裁、亚太地区董事总经理,傅大卫有着30多年在全球范围内发展和实施人力绩效解决方案的经验。 傅大卫先生总能以其宝贵经验、策略方向和全球视角为客户和团队带来价值。多年来,他在Wilson Learning的核心领域——销售、领导力、e-learning和策略咨询业务上扮演着重要的角色。

傅大卫先生是多部书籍的合著者,其中包括《双赢销售》(Win-Win Selling),《灵活多变的销售人员》(Versatile Selling),《社交风格手册》(Social Styles Handbook),《销售培训2》(Traning Book 2)等。并在美国、欧洲、拉丁美洲、亚太地区的商业出版物中发表了多篇文章。他经常被邀请在国际性会议上做有关销售、领导力、员工和客户参与度提升、品牌和战略实施的演讲。