Sales Leadership; Improving Won/Lost Ratios

Sales Leadership: Improving your Won/Lost Results

Last week I was speaking to a group of executives about improving their Business Planning process by increasing their consideration of: strategic issues, market dynamics and resource/employee development.  One of the other elements in effective business planning  is holding a formal quarterly review process where the management team evaluates the quality of business execution and the operations, marketing and sales scorecards. During the session I revealed a variety of metrics we use to assist our clients on improving their sales and profits.   The first sales related metric I recommend is the Won/Lost ratio, this is the number of proposals delivered vs the number of opportunity’s won. This is measured by your sales team and by individual salesperson.

The reason this ratio is important is it will tell  sales leadership if your salesperson is qualifying properly, delivering enough proposals or has other sales related issues. From this ratio you can also begin to build the balance of your pipeline metrics, working backwards in your funnel.  However, that is not our topic today.

What can improve your won/lost ratios?  Better pre-call planning.  Let me summarize a few questions the sales manager and salesperson can use to improve their preparation, if you would like our Pre Call Planning Sales Worksheet, simply send me an email, it is part of our On Line Sales Management Tool Kit,

Consider each of these issues as you plan your sales call:

  • What is he/she in charge of or expected to manage? How will your solution affect the
  • What does he/she want to achieve? How does she/he, measure success? How are they evaluated?
  • What is considered a success on this proposal?
  • What external factors or industry trends might make it more difficult to reach their goals?
  • What likely strategies and initiatives are in place to help achieve their objectives?
  • What likely issues does the organization face that could prevent goal achievement?
  • Who are the peers? Subordinates, superiors, outsiders whom they frequently interact? Who has formal power or informal power?
  • What’s their status quo relevant to your product/service/solution? What would it take to overcome status quo?
  • What is the personality style of each of the individuals on the call?
  • How will I open the call?  What is the objective of the call? How will I close the call?


While these are just a few of questions a professional must consider prior to any sales call, it is also important to recognize that sales conditions can change at any time and constant reviews of your sales strategies will sharpen your skills but more importantly increase your won/lost ratio.  The bottom line:  increasing won/lost ratios mean an increase in commissions, need any more encouragement?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.

 Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 


2 Replies to “Sales Leadership; Improving Won/Lost Ratios”

  1. Great questions! Pre-call planning definitely improves won/lost ratios.
    I would add as a key question to ask during initial conversations with any prospect, “What causes you to have an interest at this point in time?” or “Why is this of interest now, versus say six months ago or six months from now?”
    These questions uncover a prospect’s level of urgency to need your product or service. Spend more time with prospects that have pressing needs and your won/lost ratio will improve.

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