One of the most important sales metrics to monitor is your win rate. A small improvement in your win rate can have a major impact on your bottom line. Before getting to how to systemically increase it, let’s first agree on a clear definition:
Win rate is often confused as a synonym for closing rate, but it’s actually quite different. Win rate represents the result of your total sales efforts and is a much more effective measurement to track.
Now, let’s get to what you can do to increase yours.
The 5 Tactics to Increase Your Win Rate
Create Clearly Defined Buyer Personas
Yup, that’s right. I haven’t talked about buyer personas in a while and it’s overdue. You simply cannot predictably or sustainably increase the traction of your sales efforts if you haven’t clearly defined and understand who you are trying to attract.
At a minimum, you must:
- Describe the types of companies and individuals you most want to do business with.
- Define the types of problems these companies and individuals have that you can help them solve. Be sure to segment you answers by the type of company and individual.
- Describe the consequences if these problems aren’t properly addressed. What additional problems would exist? What opportunities would be missed?
If you’d like to dig deeper in defining personas, you can download our Buyer Personas QuickTips sheet or our workbook on creating personas.
10x Your Lead Generation Efforts
I used to get asked a lot to analyze and propose a solution to a perceived sales problem. Time and again what I learned was that the cause of the problem had little to do with the actual sales process, and was all about a company’s lead generation and management approach.
The most common mistake I see companies make when trying to accelerate their growth is that they over-focus on the bottom of their funnel, and under-focus at the top. If sales acceleration is what you want, be sure you’re allocating (at least) 70% of your energy and efforts at the top of the funnel.
There are two simple reasons for this:
- If you can increase the number of qualified opportunities entering your sales process, you’ll create far more chances to apply your efforts to increase your win rate.
- At any given time, in any typical market, at least 90% of the addressable market isn’t thinking about the issues you impact one way or the other. When you’re focused on the bottom of the funnel, you’re only addressing a small portion of your target market.
Succeeding here often requires a material change in your messaging. Lead generation is addressing the question, “Why should a prospect want to talk with us,” rather than “Why would they want to buy from us.”
Continuously Nurture Your Leads
Increasing your win rate is not a Field of Dreams event. You can’t simply build it and wait for them to come. You must participate in the larger ecosystem. This means that you must structure and design your website to support this approach, utilize your email tools to point people in the direction of your content, and, yes, you must participate (actively) in social media.
For those who feel that social media is a waste of time, consider this: social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than average conversion rates (source: HubSpot).
Finally, you must nurture your prospects. Here are the numbers:
- Only 25% of the leads you generate are ready to buy, 75% need nurturing (source: Gleastner Research).
- Lead nurturing emails have click-through rates that are 2.5x general emails (source: HubSpot).
- Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (source: DemandGen).
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
Create Your Sales Toolkit
The first three tactics are focused on increasing your velocity and the potential value of your opportunities. This tactic is all about increasing the conversion within your opportunities.
Successful selling is an action sport. Both parties must be actively engaged to optimize the results. Too often, however, prospects feel like they’re being sold to, rather than collaborated with. The overuse of brochures, PowerPoint presentations and boring sales presentations commoditize you.
Sales tools enable your prospects to experience the value you offer. When the prospect experiences they understand it better, and you don’t need to spend anywhere near as much time explaining it. You’ll be able to make sales faster, and you’ll move beyond the “what’s it cost” conversation to “what’s it worth.”
Create A Message that Provokes and Challenges Your Prospects
A big secret to cutting sales cycle times and increasing win rates is the ability to stimulate the thinking of your prospects. How do you do this? By creating what we call a commercial teaching point-of-view.
This type of message focuses deeply on your prospect’s world and challenges they’re experiencing. Think of it this way, if the message you’re putting out there is one that your prospect readily agrees with, it’s probably not going to stand out and do anything.
A powerful message teaches and opens the thinking of the people you are trying to impact. Always remember that whatever you message is, it needs to be about them, not about you.
Increasing your win rate isn’t easy, but it is actually quite simple. What I always find fascinating is that whenever I share these tips, it’s almost always greeted by incredulity. The response is typically something like, “Alright, this sounds great, but what do you really have to do to increase sales?”
I’m convinced the number one reason everyone isn’t following this path is because it feels too simple. I’ve found the toughest part of the process is simply sticking to this simple approach. It takes time to gain traction and change the nature of your interactions and perceptions with customers and prospects. Follow these tactics, stick with them, and you’ll see results more powerful than you could have imagined.