The hidden value in losing 8 out of 10 enterprise software deals

The hidden value in losing 8 out of 10 enterprise software deals

Value PropositionThe conversation often stops when I ask the simple question: What’s your average win-rate. You can feel things getting uncomfortable. The pause, the sigh, and then the answer:’ 15-20%….’ I get that. It’s not a number we aspired. But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope.

It’s all about perspective.

How odd it may sound, but poor win-rates hides a lot of value. Sure, you lose 8 out of 10 deals, and it feels like you’re caught up in the Wheel of Fortune, but it also means you win 2 out of 10. And that’s your foundation and the start of your learning curve. As they say – ‘the only way is up.’

It’s how we deal with the situation that can make us unbeatable in how we decide to play the game. Too often, we keep fighting a battle we think we can’t win. I’ve heard so many arguments: ‘we’re too small.’ ‘Nobody knows us.’ ‘If we only had this feature.’ And so on. The only way out is to change our mindset. That’s hard, often counter-intuitive, but very rewarding.

Taking a fresh perspective on ‘success.’

One thing that always keeps me grounded is to unplug from the numbers game. How many deals do you need to make the fiscal year one worth remembering? Let’s say that number is 25-30 deals – a number I hear quite often. That’s not ‘the other end of the world,’ right?

Today you need 150 qualified leads to make that number. We often get complacent by the safety in numbers and execute blindly, throwing just more marketing money at the problem. But have you ever analyzed why 2 out of 10 prospects bet on you, and not the ‘competition’? What’s their decision-making process all about? What if you could find more of those? That would give you a fair chance to increase your winning percentage and claim 8+ out of 10 deals. Suddenly the number of qualified leads you need drops to just 38.

What defines the ones you do win?

So, what defines those organizations or the people that work for them? How do they think differently from their peers of the same size in the same vertical market? What do they aspire that’s different from the others? What do they care about that the others don’t care about? What are the frustrations they have that the others don’t have? What if you’d use these ingredients to take your value proposition to the next level?

Why are the ones you lose right in the choices they make?

And have you ever reflected why those organizations that opted for ‘the competition’ were right? Often we get frustrated or even angry. But what if you gained some empathy for that instead of thinking the decision-makers were wrong? How can you use that insight to communicate extremely clearly who you are not for?

I know, all too often our marketing gutfeel says: ‘But that’s sending people away, people that might buy our software…’ Correct, ‘might’ is the right word. And you and I know very well that ‘might’ is mostly ‘not at all.’ So why not use that to your advantage. It will help in two ways: It will help raise your credibility, and it will help you articulate more clearly who you are for.

Opening up to see the hidden value

Switching our mindset from ‘we’re losing 8 out of 10’ to ‘we’re winning 2 out of 10’, enables us to open up and see the value hidden in those facts. And that’s where power play and momentum starts. From here, you can begin to tune your value proposition and build your groundswell. Moreover, because those organizations that you naturally win bet on you for the right reasons (not because you give them this big discount).

They’re your installed base that’s there for the long-term. They’d bet on you again in five years’ time; they are prepared to pay a premium, drive your gross margin, and spread the word for you, and become your best case study material.

So, what’s the hidden value in the deals that you win, and the ones you lose? How can that wisdom help you become remarkable in your category?