In sales, the second best thing to win is to lose quickly.

In the world of sales, looking for quality leads over quantity is often spoken about, but rarely practiced. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to actions measured and enforced by sales managers discourage salespeople from qualifying quickly. out opportunities they are likely to lose.

Very often, sales leaders prioritize the volume or quantity of leads over their quality. They believe that more leads mean more qualified leads, and more qualified leads lead to more sales. It’s simple math! They measure volume at the top of the funnel as a measure of expected results coming out of the bottom. Although the math is correct, the logic is not.

Ask yourself: would you rather have a pipeline of leads that is only twice your team’s quota, but is made up entirely of highly qualified opportunities, or a pipeline that’s four times their quota, but most of them are probably garbage ?

Sales managers and their team members know that the most important asset they need to convert into revenue is time. This means that as a sales leader, you need to get your team to use their time wisely, to spend less time on losers and more time finding, developing and winning winners.

Encourage your sales team to quickly discern if there’s something wrong with the fit early on so they can lose quickly using these guidelines:

  1. Lead with transparency.
    I advocate leading with transparency. Transparency qualifies inWhere out quickly and firmly. This may mean: “Based on our initial understanding of your environment and desired outcomes, there are a few areas where we have some concerns about our fit. Can we tackle them first? If these are going to be pitfalls for you, better we both know ahead of time versus three months later, right? Or “Given our understanding of your environment, the investment is likely to be between $X and $Y. valuable time. This helps the buyer predict their experience faster, with the side effect of a faster sales cycle. If there is something wrong with the fit, the customer will find out either during the cycle , or after the purchase. Either way, that’s no good. And setting up the pricing conversation early prevents your sellers from investing time in a seven-figure deal with a four-figure buyer. .
  2. Avoid the sunk cost fallacy.
    The “sunk cost fallacy” refers to a greater tendency to sue a business once an investment of time, effort, or money has been made. It’s an inherent bias we all have that causes us to ignore the ongoing cost of working on something we’ve already invested time, resources and money into, even though we know it’s low. likely to pay off. We continue to invest this valuable time. Sometimes it turns out you were right and could save the day. However, these rare victories of unequal opportunity are the exceptions. Realize that your time is more wisely spent prospecting and developing opportunities with a higher propensity for short and long term benefits.
  3. Celebrate the losses.
    Yes. Seriously! We can overturn tradition by empathically celebrating losses for effort and lessons learned. This not only boosts pipeline integrity and forecast accuracy, but you’ll also quickly sharpen your team’s focus on better identifying warning signs earlier in their prospecting efforts. Representatives are already punished in their wallets. When losses occur, elevate team member morale and engagement by creating learning-from-loss experiences – debriefing without blaming – and see your team’s transparency with its pipeline flourish.

Losing business comes with the role of sales. Yet no salesperson would prefer to work through a full sales cycle before finding out the deal is lost. Losing slowly equals wasting time and effort. Finding out early on that the deal is unlikely to be canceled is the best thing to do before you win it.


Written by Todd Caponi.
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