As a sales leader, you can't just tell your staff that it's okay to lose. Simply conducting a post-mortem at a sales meeting is insufficient. You'll need to alter the way people view defeat. You must enjoy your defeat! You must take this to the utmost if there is even the slightest hint of a losing mentality in your sales culture. Here are three methods for beginning the procedure:

Here are three methods for beginning the procedure:

1. Make losing swiftly an occasion for joy

Congratulate the sales team with champagne for losing a strategic deal.

Seriously. Or, at the very least, celebrate and highlight a "loss of the week" during your weekly team meetings. The missed deal is already affecting the reps' pocketbooks and the scoreboard. When a seasoned salesperson on our team hung his head low after devoting months to a missed chance, we invited him in with the team, poured some champagne, and acknowledged the work. Most significantly, though, we discussed the lessons that could be drawn from the setback. One company I've worked at emphasizes both the rep blunder of the week and the loss of the week.

2. Calculate the time spent

How long does it take your team to actually lose the deals it loses?

Every organization tracks the lengths of the sales cycles for the deals they have closed, but what about the ones they haven't? If the length of your sales cycle for losses shortens, you're on the correct track. Be cautious about the proactive actions you encourage the team to take. For instance, what would happen if you, as a leader, coached to the metric "always have 4x your quota in the pipeline" with your team? Your crew will put 4 much garbage in their pipes. They'll gradually remove abandoned agreements from their pipeline. Deals will be worked on longer than necessary.

Better qualification "in" and "out" should be rewarded and measured. If you're doing it correctly, win rates should increase and the requirement for a 4-times pipeline load should decrease, resulting in significantly less work being spent. 

3. Encourage openness.

Tell your prospects who seem comparable to the circumstances if they consistently occur in your deals. Do the reasons we're losing have any commonalities? Using vertical? Using a buyer persona? by region by an adversary?


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