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3 Reasons Close Rates Should Keep You Up at Night

In general, we’re not big advocates for worry. Worrying is counterproductive because it adds stress to your life and saps your energy — energy that you could be using to effect meaningful changes instead.

But in our opinion, there’s one key metric that sales and sales ops professionals don’t worry about enough: close rates.

Right about now, you’re probably feeling a bit defensive. After all, you constantly track your close rates. You’re always looking for ways to boost them. You might even be pretty proud of yourself for increasing your close rates by a fraction of a percent — or even a whole percent or two — over the last quarter.

The problem is that most sales teams don’t think big enough when it comes to close rate improvements. They’re content to settle for “good enough” and coast along, maybe making some minor gains over time.

But that’s a problem. Here’s why:

  1. Poor close rates demoralize the sales team. Good salespeople know when they aren’t winning as many deals as they should. They get discouraged. Some will — rightly — believe that management isn’t doing enough to help them win deals. And they’ll leave.
  2. Poor close rates make more work for everyone. If your close rate is lower than it should be, you’ll need a whole lot more leads. That means more work for marketing, more sales calls and more salespeople to do the work. Everyone is less efficient.
  3. Poor close rates increase costs. All that inefficiency has a price. Marketing will need to increase its ad spend. Sales will have to pay for more salaries. That means less money on the bottom line and less money for sales team members’ commissions.

Clearly, you need to get your close rates up. The question is how.

In our experience, close rates are a pretty good proxy for the overall effectiveness of your sales process. Just about everything you do in sales has an impact on this one metric. So if you have a major problem in your sales process — or half a dozen minor problems — that will affect your wins.

Conversely, that also means that tweaking intermediate points in your sales process can affect your overall close rate. We’ve seen B2B firms generate massive improvements in their win ratio with relatively minor changes. But it requires a careful analysis of your current procedures and thoughtful changes at critical points in the sales process.

The webinar How to Improve Your Close Rates explains how to do that analysis step-by-step. It also offers some tried-and-true tips and tactics that other firms have used successfully to make dramatic improvements in the number of deals they win.

You should also check out Strategies and Tactics for Boosting Your Close Rates and 17 Insights That Improve Close-Rates & Margins. Both offer more insight into how to improve this critical metric.

Despite the title we’ve chosen for this blog post, we don’t really want you to lose sleep over your close rates. But we do want you to give them all the attention they deserve and to start taking steps towards major improvements. It’s one of the most profitable things you can do for your company.

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