Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. —Jim Rohn
Some B2B organizations believe that significant and durable improvements in sales performance come from changing out the head of sales, introducing a new technology tool, process or deploying additional training. The changes mentioned above do have an impact on performance, but I’m skeptical that the effects of change are always significant and durable.
Sales leader and salespeople have a core set of “motions” they must execute well and consistently to outpace the competition and achieve annual sales targets. These core motions vary by organization, but rarely year to year. The trick is identifying which core motions if improved incrementally, even by 1% can result in a Flywheel Effect, as explained in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great.
One core B2B sales leader and salesperson motion that most organizations have is Opportunity Qualification. You’ve probably heard countless times someone in your sales and leadership organization say “we need to improve our Opportunity Qualification so we can improve our win rate.” The win rate does not budge, and you continue to put more opportunities in the top of the sales pipeline to be able to achieve the sales targets. In the process, sales support resources (e.g., engineers, proposal management, solution architects) become overworked which results in them spending less time on each opportunity they support, which negatively impacts your win rate. Sound familiar?
Opportunity Qualification is not an exact science, but if you can dissect the attributes of ideal Opportunities that you have won in the past few years, this will allow you to develop and deploy an Opportunity Scorecard. With an Opportunity Scorecard, you can begin to measure improvements in your Opportunity Qualification process, which will increase your win rate and take the pressure off of your sales support resources. Improvements in win rates rarely begin to happen sooner than the length of your average sales cycle. However, by capturing an Opportunity Scorecard on your top deals, you’ll soon be able to diagnose where incremental (1%) improvements in Opportunity Qualification can begin to affect your win rate.
Next week, I’ll introduce details of Opportunity Scorecard.
This post was inspired by James Clear’s Atomic Habits” book that I’m reading. Here’s the excerpt on his blog; This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened.