As you know, I have always encouraged sellers to review all sales in which they chose to invest time and resources. Whether you win the deal, lose it, or if it ends in “no decision”, it makes sense to understand why for all the obvious reasons. The latter group, “no decision”, is more important than many give it credit. Depending on your source for data, this “no decision” group makes up a significant number of deals, and therefore consumes a significant amount time, resources, and costs related to sales. While most stats indicate that anywhere from 28% to over 35% of B2B sales end in “no decision”, I recently saw a presentation where a credible individual stated that some 60% of deals end with the buyer taking no action at all. Quite an bit of time and resources spent on something with no return.
Well to be accurate, no immediate return, as “no decision” outcomes can, and should be, revisited and re-engaged. That’s the good news, the ability to learn what led to the lack of decision, how that differs from deals you lose or win, and what might it take to change the outcome.
The bad news is that many sellers mistakenly look at a “no decision” the wrong way, they see these deals as a “draw” rather than a “type” of loss, I hear things like “we didn’t win, it but we did not lose.” But let’s be clear, if you didn’t win – you lost! You may not have lost to a competitor, but you did lose, time, resources and most importantly lost opportunities that came and went (to other vendors) while you chased the one that didn’t happen.
One way to leverage the “no decision” deals, is to review them along with the wins and losses. Few review all three, some review losses only, and some review wins. By digging into all three, you will learn not just why you win or not, but specific key differences, some you can address, some like price, you really don’t want to. BTW, if you are going to consistently review outcomes, you should assign it to someone other than the sales person who was involved in the deal. Through no fault of their own, they never seem to get as good a response as a detached third party. For example, if you lost the deal, the easiest and most time efficient response by the buyer is to say it was lost due to price, sales people say to themselves, “I knew it”, lick their wounds and move on without much learned.
As you look at wins and losses, you can begin to see trends and the shades of difference between wins and “no decision”, and the same with losses. In most cases it is easier to focus on and address the increments than the big picture. As you identify and address these things, you have the opportunity, or obligation to revisit deals that went nowhere. The reality is that there are some cases where you and your offer were nothing more than column fodder, with the buyer having made up their mind to stay with the incumbent before the cycle even began, but need to rationalize that decision. But there are also a good number of buyers, who can be re-engaged, resold with the new element in play, and taken to a win. They know you, they have engaged with you, and if you demonstrate a new understanding of their situation, and demonstrate that you and your company listen and act, you can win those the second time around. Beats feeling sorry or chalking it up as a draw!
- Commit to knowing and using facts to decide
- Download our 360 Degree Deal View
- Find someone in sales ops to take ownership of review process, if you do not have the sales op, don’t use it as an excuse, do it yourself.
What’s in Your Pipeline?