Increasing Win Rates Part 2: Qualifying New B2B Sales Opportunities

In Increasing Win Rates Part 1: Defining Your Prospect Sweet Spot, we talked about improving target profiles to increase sales success. CSO Insight's 2011 Sales Optimization Performance report says the next best way to improve win rates is by implementing an opportunity qualification process that everyone follows.

A prospect profile is the first step in the B2B sales qualification process but improved opportunity qualification is an important B2B sales process fundamental as well.   Because of the enormous pressure for selling teams to fill the pipeline they sometimes focus less on qualifying than they should.  Consequently many sales people pursue the right target companies but don't follow the correct steps to ensure a successful sales outcome.

Some common qualification mistakes are:

  • Prospect does not have a well defined need
  • Failure to prove company value
  • Selling at the wrong level
  • Establishing spend or budget availability
  • Lack of understanding of the client decision process and timelines

Yes, these seem like basic questions but if sales managers don't take the time to inspect how their sales reps are qualifying opportunities the sales pipeline can fill with deals that really have very little chance to close.   That wastes sales support time and drags down team win rates.

According to CSO Insight's 2011 Sales Optimization Performance report, of the companies' surveyed, close rates of forecasted wins was 9% higher for companies with a formal prospect definition process (51% VS. 42%). Below is an illustration of the impact of this process if your sales team can improve their targeting process and learn to pass on those deals that aren't yet qualified.

Original Results:

Average deal size                                  $100K

Deals worked per year                            50

New business @ 42% close rate       $2.1M


New Results:

Average deal size                                  $100K

Deals worked per year                            50

New Business @ 51% close rate       $2.55M


Net increase in new revenues          21%


Defining your perfect prospect pays off!  Let us know if you would like to talk about how 3FORWARD's Sales Strategy & Process program helps sales teams increase sales effectiveness.

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