Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

March 4, 2024

The Cause of Mediocre Win Rates and Glacial Deal Velocity

By Harry Kendlbacher, CEO and Founder, Global Performance Group
A snail moves off of a stick to the ground.

As a sales leader within a well-established organization, you’re operating from a position of strength. With a robust marketing budget and a recognized brand driving demand, your team is proficient at filling the top of the funnel and managing a healthy pipeline. You’ve laid the groundwork for what could be considered the “sales hierarchy of needs,” ensuring the basic elements for success are in place. 

Yet, despite these advantages, a perplexing challenge persists: Your win rates are lackluster, and the pace at which deals are closed could generously be described as “glacial.” This situation prompts critical questions: Why is your sales organization not closing more deals, faster, and how do you solve this problem? 

Once you have recognized this issue, it’s important to implement a process that selects winnable opportunities, creates urgency in the mind of the decision-making team, equips your sales team to execute a conversation that provokes new desired outcomes, and closes deals with confidence. 

The Cause

Let’s assume that opportunity selection is done well and winnable deals have been identified with all necessary deal aspects. Sellers struggle to maximize win rates and accelerate deal velocity because they lack the essential components for effectiveness: a proven process and continuous practice and feedback. This deficiency leads to the fossilization of bad habits, especially during high-stakes client interactions – when sellers tend to revert to their comfort zones. Sales is a skill. And sellers need ongoing opportunities to practice their craft, receive targeted feedback, and apply their learning in real-world scenarios, ensuring a cycle of continuous improvement and higher performance.

Here are three things that we’ve seen positively impact win rates and deal velocity, while ensuring your sales team not only knows what to do but also masters doing it effectively:

1. Prioritize and Execute Key Agreements for Forward Momentum

Navigating a deal without a clear course of action is akin to sailing a ship with no steering mechanism. Adhering to an identified sales process is typically the quick fix, and that process becomes an exercise of simply checking a box for salespeople. It’s critical to move the seller’s thinking from meeting that sales process criteria to focusing on agreements that drive forward momentum. Establishing key agreements with buyers with the aim of charting the course of a deal cannot be emphasized enough. Whether it’s agreeing to get access to all stakeholders, agreeing to the urgency and necessity to change, or agreeing on time frames of when the outcomes need to take effect, these are fundamental in propelling the deal forward. Securing these agreements with your buyers can multiply win rates by up to 4.4 times.

2. Create Urgency Through Focusing on Outcomes, Not Just Features

While the allure of highlighting your product’s features can be enticing, it’s a strategy that often leads to diminishing returns. Sales representatives who prioritize detailed feature descriptions at the outset of discussions may inadvertently halve their chances of success – witnessing a drastic drop in win rates by as much as 50% within the initial two minutes of feature-centric dialogue. The effective alternative is to shift the focus from the features themselves to the value they bring. This means delving into the buyer’s challenges, creating a sense of urgency, and demonstrating how your solution uniquely addresses these issues – leading to tangible improvements and outcomes.

3. Relentless Practice and Feedback 

For sales leaders aiming to elevate their teams to achieve optimal win rates and deal velocity, the mantra shouldn’t be to practice until the sellers get it right but to practice until it’s impossible to get it wrong. Sales organizations can no longer rely on a couple of days of training per year – where someone comes in and talks at your sellers for a couple of days, then they get back into the field and go back to doing what they’ve always done. Mastering the skill of sales is an iterative process. You need real-world practice, a culture of constructive feedback, personalized coaching, and a structured process in place to deliver it. 

For more tools to boost your team’s results, download your free sales tool kit here

Headshot of Harry Kendlbacher

This post is by Harry Kendlbacher, CEO and founder of Global Performance Group and host of the B2B Sales Trends Podcast.