Have you ever stopped to consider all the different ways that improving your close rate could benefit your business? Here’s a short list:
- Because your sales team is closing more sales, you generate more revenue. (Duh!)
- Because your sales team is more efficient, you’ll waste less time on deals that don’t pan out.
- Because your sales and marketing efforts are more efficient and more effective, you’ll increase your return for every dollar spent on things like advertising, training, sales collateral, etc.
- Because people like to win, your entire company will get a morale boost.
Unfortunately, most B2B firms don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve their close rates. They sometimes erroneously conclude that there’s nothing they can do if people don’t want to buy their products and services. And at some organizations, close rates are so low that the sales team is already spending every single minute just trying to make enough deals to stay afloat. They don’t have any time to ponder bigger ideas about how they might be able to improve overall.
But the truth is that if those companies did manage to carve out a small amount of time to analyze their sales operations, they might find huge opportunities for improvements. And those opportunities could improve close rates across the board, making everyone more efficient and freeing up more time to focus on other ways to increase close rates or improve other aspects of your sales operations.
So how exactly can you improve close rates? Here are three suggestions:
- Get everyone on board. Everyone knows that improving close rates would be good, but not everyone understands exactly how good it would be for the organization. Take a little time to develop a model that shows how a 0.5% or 1.0% improvement in close rates would affect your overall revenue and income. Your sales software probably has all the tools you would need to do a reasonably good estimation. If not, you can develop a quick calculation yourself in Excel. Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to account for the lifetime value of your customers. Once everyone can see exactly how much a fairly small improvement increases your revenue and margins, they’ll be much more eager to spend time and energy thinking of ways to improve close rates (and putting those ideas into practice).
- Look for chokepoints. If you view your sales operation as an assembly line, your overall close rate is a measure of the end result (sales) divided by your raw materials (prospects). But you have a lot of steps along the way in your sales process. See how many prospects are dropping out in each stage and look for opportunities to improve performance at those chokepoints. For example, maybe the first step in your sales process is to send prospects an email after they have expressed interest in your product, and maybe you lose 50% of your prospects at that stage. If you could improve that 10% by tweaking the language of the email or by switching from an email to a phone call, you would have considerably more prospects making it through each of the other stages in your sales process, significantly improving your close rates overall with just a small change.
- Do more of what’s working. It’s human nature to focus on what’s going wrong and try to fix it. But if you can analyze your sales data and figure out what is going right, that can actually be much more powerful. It’s often the case that one particular sales rep has much better close rates than everyone else. If you can figure out what’s different about that person and replicate it, you could improve your average. It might also be the case that you have better close rates with certain types of customers. If you can target more of those kinds of businesses, your close rate average will improve naturally without a lot of extra effort.
These are just a few suggestions. You can find many more in the webinar How to Improve Your Close Rates. You should also check out Strategies and Tactics for Boosting Your Close Rates and 17 Powerful Insights into Prospects and Customers.
Improving your close rate is probably easier than you think. And it will almost certainly have a bigger impact on your financial results than you imagine. If you’ve never intentionally tried to improve close rates, we strong recommend trying out a few of these tips.
How to Improve Your Close Rates
Trial and error with something as important as your close rates is risky. How do you know which strategies and tactics you should use to improve? In this on-demand training webinar, learn effective strategies and tactics for improving your sales team's ability to win---at scale and with less risk.
Strategies and Tactics for Boosting Your Close Rates
Most B2B companies would like to improve their close rates. On nearly every sales research study ever conducted, something to the effect of "improve our win rates" shows up as a top priority or objective. But what are they really doing to make it happen?