“Why did you lose that last sale? Your sales rep said it was price. Your dealer said the customer requested the other brand. The list of “reasons” goes on and on, but most often a vendor is screened from knowing the real set of decision factors that lead to sales successes or failures.
An analysis of lost bids often uncovers surprising results in terms of simple yet effective actions that can be implemented. Frequently they point to new issues that don’t relate to product features or price (which are the top issues sales and marketing managers usually hear about in lost bid discussions).
Some of the surprises we have identified over several such assignments include:
• Lack of coordination between sales and technical field personnel resulting in confused and mixed messages to interested buyers
• A failure to identify all influencers active in the purchase decision
• Lack, or poor quality, of collateral materials targeted at each decision influencer’s particular needs (i.e. technical, application, financial, end use, or managerial)
• Poor responsiveness during the sale cycle
• A lack of sales force training
- Product knowledge (own/competition)
- Application knowledge
• Poor coordination between several divisions' sales forces
The intention of this evaluation is not to identify employee's weaknesses, but general sales and marketing needs that are not being adequately addressed.
Once again our survey returns represented a variety of industries, and come from firms that ranged from 100% of revenues from direct sales, to 100% from alternate channels.
Basically, businesses tended to break into three categories when it came to lost bid tracking.
Watch Dogs - 10% of firms
• Gather information on all lost sales to competitors
• Review information at least on a quarterly basis if not more frequently
• Often use a consultant in the process (or to set up the process)
• Sales and marketing management is involved
Casual Observers - 71% of firms
• Gather information on only some of the lost sales opportunities
- Nearly half said it was for large bid situations only
- Others review lost bids when information is available or as time permits
• Although information may be reviewed fairly frequently (monthly- quarterly), one out of four firms only has sales management information.
Asleep At The Wheel - 19% of firms
• Either never gather lost bid information, or gather only some and review it annually at best
The results strongly indicate that the resources applied to review competitive wins in a timely fashion can identify valuable actions.
The increased attention to business by the Watch dogs resulted in corrective actions, improving sales results.
For additional information contact Rainmakers at 847/251-3327