Your sales reps can do everything in their power to win an opportunity and still lose — to a competitor, because of bad timing… for any number of reasons. The good news is that your sales, marketing, and product development teams can learn from those closed-lost opportunities (in many cases, even more than from closed-won opportunities). That’s why deleting or burying a closed-loss in Salesforce Sales Cloud could stunt future opportunities for your organization. A more informed sales team promises a greater chance for success going forward.
Learn from loss reasons and descriptions
When an opportunity is closed-lost, it’s common to have a method for recording why it was lost — such as checkboxes or a mandatory picklist field — so that this data can be reported and analyzed. With these methods, after reporting a closed-loss in Sales Cloud, sales reps have to select a loss reason like timing, need (or rather, lack thereof), competition (say a bigger company pounced on your opportunity), etc.
However, this can be difficult when it comes to creating reports. One method may be to create a custom object called “loss reason,” which includes a standard picklist field for high-level reasons, a comments field, and is a child to the opportunity object. That way, when an opportunity is saved to closed-lost, the sales rep is redirected to a Visualforce page where they can add multiple loss reason records. When the sales rep has completed the form, the records would be created and they would be taken back to the opportunity. This would allow for multiple reasons and improve reporting on the reasons for losing an opportunity. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to find the method of communicating the reasons behind closed-losses that works for your organization.
Cultivate a culture of transparency
Of course, sales managers want to stay up-to-date on the won-closed ratio of their sales reps — something that can’t be done if closed-lost opportunities are deleted or hidden. And if the loss is directly related to the sales rep, having to list a reason is an exercise in accountability that can strengthen your sales team. Meanwhile, if the reason for a loss isn’t directly related to the sales rep, it speaks to a larger issue on an organizational level.
In either case, it’s important to be able to draw actionable insights from the transparency provided by loss reasons and descriptions. Your sales and marketing teams save time and energy by learning from past mistakes or failures due to circumstance. Say prospective clients frequently cite a missing feature as the reason for opting out. With that feedback, your product team may be able to work toward incorporating that feature. Likewise, if a high price tag is a reason for prospective clients choosing a competitor instead, it may lead you to reevaluate the cost of your product or services. If many prospective clients are poor fits for your business, sales reps may need to work on qualifying leads to avoid wasting time in the future.
Do your homework: review and analyze often
Particularly in the case of significant or large losses, it’s good to do a comprehensive post-mortem to see what went wrong. Analysis can be done by service/sub-service, product, geography/territory, price, etc. Also be sure to look for flaws in selling skills, lack of solution alignment with customer need, and other related deficiencies. Thorough loss analysis can help identify both stellar and subpar sales reps and even help predict the likelihood of successfully closing or losing opportunities going forward.
Get more information on tackling closed-lost and closed-won opportunities in Sales Cloud from our ebook, How to Get the Most Out of Salesforce Sales Cloud.