5 reasons you might be losing sales opportunities (and how to fix it)

Published: Nov 01, 2019

losing sales opportunities

With an average 19% close rate across all industries, the chances are you might be losing up to 80% of your opportunities.

This means you might be missing out on $8,000 of potential revenue per month for every 100 opportunities you generate, assuming that your average deal size is $100.

If this doesn’t sound impressive enough to you, try multiplying this number by 12 to see how much money you let slip each year. And I’m not talking about the cost of time and effort your SDRs wasted on those lost opportunities!

Of course, there’s no way you can convert 100% of your leads. Still, keeping the number of lost opportunities as low as possible is extremely important for any business. And to do that, you need to understand what makes them slip away in the first place.

For example, here are some of the most common reasons why you might be missing out on sales opportunities (and some tips on how to fix that).

1. No formal sales process in place

This mistake is the one that I’ve seen way too often with SMBs and startups. Having a small sales team, they usually don’t bother with formalities and choose to go with the flow.

And that’s a pity because having a well-structured and closely monitored sales process is what sets the highest performing teams apart.

So, if you want to improve your performance and, as a result, generate more revenue, you need to put a solid sales process in place.

To start with, consider building your sales playbook: document the key aspects of your current sales process, e.g. your buyer personas, the cadence you use, your current toolset, sales team structure, and KPIs.

This will help you put your current sales strategy into perspective, pinpoint the existing problems and, as a result, improve your bottom line.

2. Poor targeting

There are two ways poor targeting can harm your sales: you either lack an understanding of your target audience or fail to pick the right message to target your audience with.

The first situation is pretty common. According to Altify, salespeople with a quota of $1 million and an average deal size of $100,000 might lose up to $218,000 only by pursuing the wrong leads.

Luckily, this problem is also easy to solve: all you need is a detailed buyer persona. Once you know who you should target, it will be easier to pick and qualify the right prospects.

In the second case, the problem is that you might be targeting the right people with the wrong offer. To fix this, segment your audience into smaller target groups based on your buyer personas, and create tailored, personalized offers relevant to each segment’s needs and interests.

3. Pushing too hard

Say what you will, psychology plays a vital role in sales success. And, just like some brain tricks can help you sell more, there are also certain rules that shouldn’t be violated.

One of such unwritten rules is to avoid being too aggressive or pushy with your opportunities. And there’s a good reason for that: this tactic isn’t just outdated and useless, but can also do serious harm to your business.

Plus, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, some deals just won’t close. And it’s OK. So, there’s no need to put your leads under too much pressure.

A much better strategy to follow with your sales communication is to try and build a relationship with your prospects. This can bring you more value in the long run, than a one-time, forced deal.

4. Giving up on your prospects too early

Opposite to the previous mistake, many salespeople are so afraid to come across as too persistent that they choose to lose opportunities instead.

In fact, almost half of all salespeople will give up on a prospect after just one follow-up. And, considering the fact that vast majority of deals take at least 5 follow-ups after the initial contact to close, they might be missing out on a large chunk of revenue.

So, don’t hesitate to follow up with your prospects. You never know if the prospect intentionally ignored your message or just forgot to respond.

On a side note, I would also recommend paying attention to the so-called “stale” opportunities, i.e. the ones that have been inactive for a while, as well. Make sure to set a reminder and try to re-engage them later.

5. Wasting too much time on scut work

Speaking of follow-ups and sales process in general, a common mistake is to do everything by hand. No wonder that most SDRs spend only around 36% of their time actually selling.

So instead of wasting most of your time on those time-consuming, routine work, use automation software to handle at least some of it. For example, you can streamline prospect research using B2B databases like UpLead, manage your sales documents more efficiently with PandaDoc, or use Doodle to make appointments.

You can also automate a large part of sales-related tasks as well. Take prospecting for example.

Using tools like Reply, you can set automatic outreach sequences and engage prospects across multiple channels. In addition to that, the software allows you to set reminders, create and manage internal tasks, and effectively collaborate with your teammates.

Taking action

As you can see, none of the listed mistakes is impossible to fix or avoid. The key is to recognize them and take action as soon as possible.

The best thing you can do right now to reduce the number of lost opportunities is to try and understand when and why the opportunities leak. Look into your CRM data, conduct a Win/Loss analysis, ask your closed/lost opportunities for feedback.

As soon as you know the root cause for their churn, you can learn from your mistakes and make the required changes to your sales strategy.