⌞8 Tips for Effective Win-Loss Analysis
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Clozd 2017 – PRESENT
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What is win-loss analysis?
Win-loss analysis is the practice of systematically
capturing and analyzing the reasons why you win
and lose sales opportunities.
Rigorous win-loss analysis will help you confirm and
prioritize both the strengths and weaknesses of your
product or service offering enabling you to refine product
strategy, increase marketing effectiveness, boost sales
productivity, and foster org-wide strategic alignment.
8 Tips for Effective Win-Loss Analysis
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Acknowledge what’s at stake.
Knowing why you win and lose is mission critical for your business
and the success of your product offering.
• Too many leaders rely on conjecture, assumptions, and anecdotes.
• Todd Berkowitz, RVP at Gartner, said:
A formal and rigorous win-loss analysis program enables better
segmentation, product strategy choices, and sales enablement … those that
take a more comprehensive approach have seen up to 50% improvement in
Secure executive sponsorship.
Best-in-class win-loss programs are cross-functional initiatives
with strong executive sponsorship.
• Engage leaders from product, sales, marketing, and the c-suite.
• Pool budgets from multiple teams or fund the program at the executive level.
• Take into account the questions and goals/needs of each function.
Get direct feedback from buyers.
Go straight to the source - actual buyers - to find out why you
won or lost their business.
• Bob Apollo, former EVP Sales Ops at Sybase, said:
Asking the sales organization to self-report on wins and losses is as insightful as
asking turkeys whether they might be inclined to vote for Christmas.
• Conduct buyer interviews - it’s the richest source of win-loss insight.
• Leverage a neutral third-party for the sake of bias, candor, bandwidth, etc.
Prioritize getting started.
Starting small is better than never starting at all. You can improve
and expand the program over time.
• Consider starting small, focusing on one pocket or segment of the business.
• Sanjay Puri, VP Product Marketing at Avalara, said:
Start the damn program. Doesn't matter how big you make it. Start with a few
interviews - two, five, ten, twenty per month - whatever number makes sense for
your business and budget.
Tag and track key themes.
Develop a methodology for tagging and tracking key themes
• Record and transcribe each interview.
• Tag positive and negative themes that influenced the buyer’s decision.
• Tag supporting quotes that give context to each theme.
• Track and aggregate the themes over time and across interviews.
Interpret the results in context.
Apply proper context to your win-loss themes. Analyze them by
region, product, competitor, segment, etc.
• Explore your themes by outcome: What’s the story when you win? lose?
• Drill into themes by region, product, competitor, customer segment, etc.
• Don’t extrapolate. Pay attention to the size and scope of your sample.
Democratize the findings.
Be transparent with the findings. Liberally share the interviews
and themes with stakeholders across the business.
• Drip published interviews to leaders in real-time, one by one.
• Push relevant insights to specific functions and stakeholders.
• Develop and share periodic executive summary reports.
• Hold post-interview discovery calls to review large/strategic wins or losses.
Calibrate and expand over time.
Best-in-class win-loss programs evolve and improve with time. As
you prove the value of the program, expand your efforts.
• Make continual improvements to your interview guide, sampling strategy, etc.
• Steadily expand your investment to cover more of your pipeline.
• Pay attention to how themes are changing over time.
• Monitor ROI metrics like sales win rates, win back opportunities, etc.
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