Sometimes, you have to know when it’s time to cut bait and run.

It’s a lesson fishing boat captains who make their living catching crab on the Bering Sea know all too well. In the most recent episode of the hit TV show Deadliest Catch, Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, finally hit on decent numbers of opilio crab but, with hurricane-force winds and swelling seas coming, he opted to head to port rather than keep fishing.

It’s a lesson sales representatives should learn, too.

World-class sales organizations know when to walk away from a prospective deal. They recognize the signs of a dead-end deal – a deal they have absolutely no chance of winning. So instead of chasing windmills or running after unicorns and wasting thousands of dollars, not to mention hundreds of hours, they simply know when it’s time to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Focus on Deals You Can Win

Knowing when to cut bait and run allows world-class organizations to spend more time and resources on deals they have a strong chance of winning. This produces higher win rates, more sales reps making quota and more revenue to the bottom line.

Organizations that know when to walk away likely have one thing in common: a robust sales enablement function.

A recent study by CSO Insights, the research arm of Miller Heiman Group, showed that companies with designed, developed and operationalized sales enablement functions win more often than companies that don’t have them. The margin of success is surprising—companies with official sales enablement functions were 10.2 percent more successful when it came to revenue plan attainment.

This is what happens when you focus on business you can win. Sometimes, it pays to cut bait and wait for sunny weather (or brighter opportunities).

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