Over the past several weeks, I’ve been sitting in a number of pipeline and deal reviews. While the companies are in very different businesses, different solutions, different sales processes, different sales force maturities, I’ve noticed some patterns:

  1. Deal quality is not where it needs to be.
  2. Average deal sizes seem to be eroding.
  3. Average sales cycles are increasing.
  4. Win rates are declining.
  5. People are struggling, but working very hard.

They are closing deals, but things are very tough, and people are working very hard. Somehow, they aren’t hitting their goals.

As we dive into their pipelines, I start seeing, the deals aren’t really the deals they want, they are the deals they are getting.

By this, I mean, as people start struggling with their numbers, they start relaxing their qualifying criteria. They start chasing deals further outside their ICP or sweet spot. As they struggle with these deals, they tend to cast wider and wider nets. They win a few here and there, but they aren’t the best types of deals, and the work to get them was too difficult.

It takes tremendous courage to focus, exclusively, on the right deals—those fitting your ICP and right in the middle of your sweet spot. These are the deals we really want! Ironically, these are the deals that are “easier” to get, that is, they are the right deals, they are areas where we have proven success.

It would seem natural, particularly as times are tough, to focus viciously on these deals.

But our minds, and, perhaps, our managers, don’t work that way. Rather than doubling down on deals in our sweet spot, we chase anything that responds, we confuse activity with purposefulness.

Over time, we find we have drifted further and further from our Ideal Customer. The deal quality declines, the work to get each deal increases, our win rates decline, sales cycles lengthen.

We end up settling for deals that aren’t the best and working too hard for those.

What would happen, if we changed our perspectives, focusing viciously on what we want, rather than what we get? If we focus on our sweet spot, we will get what we want—and our ability to generate quality business will sky rocket.

What kinds of deals are you getting?

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
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Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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