One in an occasional series about improving the performance of your business…
Everyone understands that losing proposals is a sure way to go out of business… But too many companies ignore the fact that chasing unqualified prospects is just as certain a route to the exits.
Don’t let that be you!
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…”
Maybe Albert said it, maybe he didn’t – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you need to constantly refine your strategy to help your company thrive in the current economy.
Business performance metrics provides actionable insights to support your decision making process.
Let’s look at a favorite offender – the Blue Bird – an unearned sales opportunity that comes flying in from out of nowhere and lands on your desk requesting a proposal…
Consider these five qualifying questions that many companies use to manage the RFP process (you’ll probably want to personalize this list)…
- Is there an approved budget?
- Have you identified and spoken with the decision maker?
- Do you know who the competitors are and who the incumbent is?
- Does Mr. Blue consider you a credible candidate?
- Has Mr. Blue requested information on your website, signed up for your blog, visited your facility, seen a presentation, experienced a demo, talked to a reference or attended an event?
Most of your competitors will make an emotional decision and pursue a Blue Bird even if they answer NO to most or all of the above…
Here is how to use performance metrics to support your new business development strategy.
Take a piece of paper or a spreadsheet. On the left side make a row for each of the five qualifying statements. Note that you can get much more insight if you break down the fifth statement to mirror your sales funnel.
Then make ten columns and label them with the last ten pieces of business you went after. Put the jobs you won in bold or red.
For each project put a 1 in the row if you the answer is yes (i.e. if you knew there was an approved budget), and a big old goose egg if the answer is any version of no.
At the end of what might be a pretty painful walk down memory lane, total up each row and each column.
Now analyze the data by looking at the distribution from two perspectives.
- By row the totals tell you which qualifiers (steps in your sales funnel) are the most important to your success.
- By column you can see how closely the totals (going through the steps in the funnel) correlate to winning or losing.
You should be able to say something like:
“I can see that every time we didn’t check out the deal and skipped 2 and 3 we lost. And that every time the client understood our capabilities we won.”
Congratulations! You have just used metrics to determine which qualifying criteria most impact your success.
Integrating metrics into your decision making process will keep you from wasting time and resources and improve the ROI on your proposal budget.
Which new business development metrics are you currently tracking that aren’t on the P&L? What other aspects of your business can you apply these techniques to? What systems do you need to put in place to support this approach?
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