How to use closed lost reasons to find the gaps in your sales process
What each reason really means and what to do about it
Unless you have a monopoly on your industry, it’s inevitable that you will lose more deals than you win. However, many sales teams make the mistake of chalking up their losses to things outside their control, like features or pricing, even when win rates can be increased simply by improving your sales process.
A powerful starting point for figuring out where to focus is to look at your most frequently reported closed lost reasons. Most sales teams use variants of the following:
No-show. When the buyer does not show up to a scheduled initial call.
Not qualified. When the salesperson did not identify a business need on the initial discovery call.
Non-responsive. When the buyer stops responding to the salesperson’s follow up and “goes dark”.
Timing not right. When the buyer slows or stalls the deal because something else has taken priority. Sometimes also captured as “no decision”.
Price too high. When the buyer says the they selected a lower priced option from a competitor.
Feature missing. When the buyer says they need a feature that you didn’t have.
Each of these reasons actually points to weaknesses in your sales process. Here’s what those weaknesses are and how to fix them:
1. No-show —> under-qualifying prospects
No-shows are very common when you have a sales development team doing high volume outbound prospecting and optimizing for quantity of meetings rather than quality. If your SDRs are hounding the internet asking for “a quick 15 minute call?”, no-shows probably feature high on your list.
The 3 ways to address this are:
Verify the prospect’s situation and pain before booking the call with an AE. This can be done quite easily over email once you’ve engaged a prospect through relevant insights.
Send an agenda ahead of the call and ask what else the prospect would like to cover during the meeting. This gives your prospect the opportunity to give themselves a reason to come to the meeting.
Send a reminder a day before the call to confirm and provide a link to reschedule if needed. Work calendars are always unpredictable and it shows you are being considerate.
2. Not qualified —> targeting too broadly
Sales development reps (and AE’s) will sometimes disqualify the buyer on the basis of not finding a business need. The solution to this depends on whether your leads are mostly inbound or outbound. Here’s what to do for each: