One way to measure sales success is the number of deals closed. While some deals are larger than others, and some are easier or more challenging to win, there are several variables you control. If you don't want to have the same sales year each year, you need to work on improving your game. By working on these variables, you can create and close more deals in 2023.
Variable 1: Deal Quality
Many people avoid pursuing the large clients in their territory because a competitor has had them locked down forever. These salespeople believe it is faster and more efficient to find companies that will be easier to pursue and win, moving downstream. While this may be true, larger companies that buy a lot of what you sell are quality clients because they care about the outcomes they need and they consider what you sell to be important or strategic.
Those who look for deals that are easier to win often find it difficult to create opportunities when the company doesn't have a need that is significant enough to be a real priority. As you move downstream, chasing deals, the quality of the opportunities is lower. Stacking up a bunch of poor-quality deals steepens the path to closing.
The reason it takes so long to win large clients who belong to your competitor is because you take too long to get started. Maybe, once you begin working to displace your competitor, you take nine months to remove them. The mistake many people make when looking at sales cycles is leaving out the three years the company lived in the CRM before anyone seriously pursued their business.
First, pursue your prospective clients with the highest revenue potential and work down from there. Larger clients need more of what you sell and have more problems than clients that only occasionally need a little of what you sell. To help you get started in improving this variable, you may benefit from a prospecting playbook.
Variable 2: Your Effectiveness as a Salesperson
The greater your sales effectiveness, the greater your ability to create and close more deals. The salesperson who lacks effectiveness can work hard to create and win very few deals. Of all the variables you control, your effectiveness is the one you should spend the most time improving.
If you look at any sales organization's pipeline management, you are likely to see the sales force created more than enough opportunities to reach their goals. Had the sales organization won more of those deals, they would have hit their targets. Some of those deals were low quality, but others were high-quality deals that would have been valuable to a salesperson and their company.
One of the easiest ways to win more deals is to increase your effectiveness. Doubling your win rate from 22 percent to 44 percent would find you rapidly climbing the stacked ranking. To improve your win rate, you need to change your approach, study sales by reading books, and take training courses to speed your development.
Instead of following a plan to improve sales effectiveness, most sales managers ask the salesperson who needs to win more deals to create more deals. The salesperson goes out and creates poor deals using a legacy approach, selling the way they’ve always sold, only to fail to improve the number or the quality of their wins. In sales, better is better than more.
Your number-one initiative forever and ever must be sales effectiveness. Before you worry about creating more new deals, fix your win rate by improving your sales skills. Once you have become more effective, begin the process of creating more opportunities.
Variable 3: How You Spend Your Time
We live in an era marked by an unlimited number of distractions, and how you spend your time can derail your plan to close more deals. The more time you spend with your browser open, the worse your results. Steve Jobs gave us the gift of the iPhone, while also giving us the curse of allowing anyone and everyone to steal our most precious commodities: our time and attention.
You need to increase sales productivity and sales time management. It is difficult to create new deals if you are distracted by the browser, the group chat, Slack, text messages, email, and, if you have children, the daily Venmo request for money. Without blocking these interruptions, you never get into sales mode. My least favorite question is, "Did you get my email?" to which I reply, "I don't know." Email is a tool that lets other people assign you tasks that further their goals.
In sales, we only pursue two outcomes: creating new deals and winning them. After spending 20 minutes to discover why Tom Brady and Gisele are getting a divorce, you might remind yourself that you are supposed to be creating and winning new deals. (I promise you Tom and Gisele will be okay).
Closing More Deals
The way to close more deals is to create better-quality opportunities. This means breaking the habit of logging every conversation as an opportunity, even though a prospective client was exploring a possible change. The key to creating and closing more deals is improving your sales effectiveness. Don't settle for a win rate that is less than 50 percent. If that is intimidating, consider the salespeople who close in the high eighties. The more time you devote to sales activities, like prospecting and meeting with contacts, the more deals you will close.
Let other people look to technology and shiny objects to close more deals, while you work on the best rep practices to drive sales in 2023.