Did you miss the full-day SCIP Win/Loss workshop that we facilitated at Lake Tahoe on February 7, 2018? Here’s a quick summary.
Attendees came to the workshop to learn how they can improve their Win/Loss programs and obtain stronger results from the information collected. The session started with a statement that the fundamental purpose of a Win/Loss program is to bring about change that will increase sales success.
Elements of Win/Loss Success
After a short set of introductions, the session started with an overview of Win/Loss and the key elements needed to make a program successful. While there are many factors required to make a program work, the most important ones are executive buy-in and cross-company engagement.
- Executive buy-in is especially helpful during the start-up phase when company leaders may question the value of Win/Loss or see it as a threat to their operations
- Cross-company engagement, which is more relevant to the ongoing success of the program, provides transparency about the program to company stakeholders and reduces resistance to implementation.
Experience has shown that without executive buy-in and cross-company engagement, Win/Loss programs may survive for long periods, but will fail to significantly impact overall sales success
Following program buy-in and engagement, the workshop addressed the difficult topic of what deals to include in the Win/Loss process and how to involve sales team members. In terms of deal selection, there are really only two hard and fast rules:
- Deals selected must be representative of the total deal universe
- Do not cherry-pick only those deals where the home team performed well
When companies include only those deals where everything went right or only look at a narrow subset of the market, the results are misleading, and often cause companies to implement strategies that fail to impact the broader business.
With the deal selection criteria in place, the next topic covered is how to determine what the key decision factors are in the specific market. Since every market, and ultimately every prospect, uses slightly different factors when deciding on vendors, it is important to properly identify which factors matter most in the target industry. There are general guidelines for decision factors, and they typically include:
Determining the decision factors and the relative ranking of each is a tool that puts Win/Loss results in perspective and highlights which factors matter most to the customers.
Interview and Survey Development
After the decision factors are identified, data collection tools need to be selected that are appropriate for the information sought. Generally, there are two broad categories of information types:
Both can be appropriate for Win/Loss. It is also common to use a combination of both depending on the type of information sought, the analysis methodology, and the specific audiences that will read the results.
Data can be gathered from the prospects through multiple tools, including in-person and telephone interviews, open and close-ended internet surveys, or even mailed survey tools. Simultaneously, the data collection can be completed using in-house teams, third party outsourced companies, or a combination of the two. The methods chosen depend on issues such as budget, timing, and skill sets. In general, the key advantage of third party data collection is that it frees up in-house staff to focus on cross company engagement and implementation of recommendations.
Analysis and Reporting
Transforming insights from the Win/Loss interviews requires analysis which determines performance against key decision factors. The analysis also uses the results to develop recommendations that will produce positive changes on sales outcomes. There are many different analysis tools to use depending on the type of data collected.
- Quantitative data – statistical tools are better suited for analysis
- Qualitative data – strategic tools, such as frequency and sentiment analysis, are useful
Dissemination and Implementation
The final steps of a Win/Loss program are to share the recommendations with leadership, develop implementation plans, and oversee the implementation. The final component, implementation, is the single most important outcome of a Win/Loss program and the one that ultimately produces results.
At Fletcher/CSI, our philosophy on Win/Loss is that is must drive change at a strategic level, and by doing so, improve not only sales success, but also overall market position and sustainable competitive advantage. To learn more about Win/Loss from Fletcher/CSI, please call 802-660-9636 or email [email protected]