Help Your Team Recover From a Lost Opportunity

March 29, 2016

learn_lead_shadow.jpgLosing a large opportunity can drain the energy and enthusiasm of even great sales teams. Improving team morale quickly after a lost opportunity is important to getting momentum back in a positive direction. Don’t let one misstep lead to more stumbles. Focus on uncovering what went wrong, so your reps can improve the process with the next buyer.

Here are three things to do to help your team recover from a lost opportunity.

1. Review the Discovery Process

Many lost opportunities can result from not uncovering enough negative consequences or business pain to drive a decision. A buyer’s decision to go with another vendor could very likely be tied to a lack of understanding in the true business value of your solution. Make sure you review how the team executed discovery and how they tied uncovered needs to the buyer’s required capabilities. More than likely, you’ll find that more could have been done in the earlier stages of the deal to set the stage for a winning result.

2. Review the Sales Process

The best sales processes provide salespeople with the ability to qualify a prospect with Customer Verifiable Outcomes that indicate the buying state-of-mind. They may include things like:

  • Documented pain points
  • Implications of the customer’s current situation
  • Knowledge the organization is ready to invest resources

Using this criteria gives your sellers an improved ability to better verify areas where they would otherwise be guessing. If reps can determine these benchmarks, they are less likely to lose the opportunity.

If reps don’t focus on staying in sync with their customers and reading the buying signs, they greatly increase the probability of losing deals. Here are two questions to ask the team (1) What “buyer signals” did the rep use to show that it was time to move the opportunity to the next stage? and (2) What steps may have been skipped that led to the lost opportunity?

3. Review the Action Plan

As you review processes, look for opportunities to improve individual and team skills that positively impact sales performance. Schedule regular times for coaching and role plays that specifically address skill improvement. Make sure the team not only knows what went wrong, but how to improve moving forward.


As your sales team takes on the next big prospect, they’re looking to you for leadership. Make sure you provide a forward-looking perspective balanced with a clear communication of what went wrong. Taking the time to review why your solution lost is an effort that will only help your team make sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated. Increased knowledge and practice helps instill the confidence your team needs to achieve future success.


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