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Overcoming Your Salesforce’s Objections to Win/Loss Analysis

I just had another client tell me he was getting pushback from his salesforce to do Win/Loss analysis. They felt threatened by what the output might be. They felt that win/loss analysis would be a critique of them, and only them. Really!? The objective of Win/Loss analysis is to win and retain more business, not to critique sales people.

To strengthen this argument, I share the 4 topical areas we cover in the Win/Loss interviews with the company’s customers and those who chose a competitor:

  1. Relationship Health
  2. Company Reputation
  3. Service Issues
  4. Product Attributes

Win/Loss Analysis

When you look at the detail under each of these 4 topical areas, only #1, Relationship Health is primarily a Sales’ assessment. The other three are NOT assessing Sales, and they are just as important to helping companies win and retain more business.

Another way to help dispel the salesforce’s belief that Win/Loss just targets them is to share the strategic benefits that companies gain from Win/Loss. How could this be if we only assessed the salesforce?

Here is a list of 15 strategic benefits from doing Win/Loss analysis:

  1. Which industry segments do and don’t like your solutions.
  2. What business to walk away from.
  3. Which business sweet spots to strengthen.
  4. New business opportunities.
  5. New competitors, entering from industries different from yours.
  6. Strategic partners or acquisition candidates.
  7. Geographic markets to enter or exit.
  8. How to improve your product or service mix.
  9. Unintended product uses.
  10. New product and service developments.
  11. Improved revenue forecasts.
  12. Sustainable ways to increase profits and revenues.
  13. Trends working against competitors.
  14. Knowledge of disruptive changes before they hit the market or better yet, how to become a disruptor yourself.
  15. Fuel for strategic planning.

I hope these ideas and approaches help you get your salesforce to understand two things:

Win/Loss is not a critique of the salesforce. That’s your company’s management’s job! Win/Loss analysis’ objective is to learn how to win and retain more business—both in the short term and over time.

Actually, your salesforce is the biggest beneficiary of Win/Loss analysis since your salesforce’s goal parallels the goal of Win/Loss analysis: to win and retain more business. Win/Loss lets your customers and prospects enlighten you from their entire buying experience with your company…and the competition.

BTW, research indicates that companies who act from a formal Win/Loss program can improve business win rates anywhere from 15 to 30%. Can you afford not to be doing Win/Loss analysis?

Here are some resources on Win/Loss:

Win/Loss Analysis: definition, presentation, etc.

Win/Loss Analysis book; Amazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

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Win Loss Interviews: Compensation and Recording

Win Lose or Draw

Win Lose or Draw

As many of you know, I am writing, Win, Lose or Draw, a book on how to set up a world class win loss program.





In this book I am sharing some best practices to capture customer intelligence through win loss interviews:

  • The Steps to Take to Establish a Sustainable Win Loss Program
  • How to Include Sales People in Your Win Loss Process
  • Determining Which Customers and Prospects to Target
  • The Value of Interviewing Wins AND Losses
  • How Your Company Culture Will Impact the Execution of Win Loss
  • What to Look for if You Outsource Win Loss Interviews and / or the Analysis
  • What You Should Cover in a Win Loss Interview
  • How to Conduct a Win Loss Interview to Maximize Sharing
  • Tips on How to Structure Win Loss Analysis

What are your best practices in there two areas:

  • Monetary Compensation to those you interview for a win or loss
  • Recording Win Loss Interviews

#1 Do you compensate the customers and prospects you interview?

If you compensate, has this improved your success at getting people to agree to be interviewed?

If you compensate, what do you think is a competitive rate per interview?

Which industries are you expected to compensate, such as doctors?

Where had you better not compensate, such as government employees?

 #2 How do you feel about recording interviews?

If you record interviews, do you transcribe them?

What software do you use?

Do you use the transcripts for data mining?

I have mixed emotions and experience in both of these areas. I tend to get a pretty good interviewing rate without compensation, but I haven’t queried doctors. I always have a good value proposition, and have an organized process which is more apt to lead to YES for the interview.

Win loss is a good use of a customer’s or prospect’s time, since it gives them an opportunity to tell you what they do and don’t like about doing business with you and the competition—after the pressure of the decision to buy has been made. Yet I am realistic in that people’s schedules are so filled these days that I am competing for their time, so sweetening the deal with a monetary reward will encourage them to find the time.

I feel kind of like a spy when I record conversations. Call me old fashioned. I have such an established shorthand for note taking that I don’t miss much, and have no problem asking them to clarify or I repeat what I thought I heard them say to slow them down a bit. I don’t mind getting back with a question after the interview since I always have their email. I always provide interview summaries, which can be data mined. My clients are more apt to read the summaries since they are a quick read compared to transcripts.

While Win Loss is a relationship business, like all business processes, it continues to evolve. With the advent of big data, some companies include win loss transcripts in their big data to more scientifically uncover trends, for example.

If you’re uncomfortable sharing your best practices on social media or my blog, please email me at ellen at thebisource.com or send me a private message on LinkedIn or Twitter.  Thanks so much. I am closing in on my rough draft for the book. It feels good to get this far.

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