How to Get the Most out of Win/Loss: Designing the Program

Those who are familiar with the world of sales have no doubt heard of Win/Loss Analysis and its application to the sales force. Sometimes called a post-mortem, a closing analysis, or a deal evaluation, a Win/Loss evaluation seeks to understand why a sales effort ended the way it did. There is more than one type of Win/Loss, and it is important to understand the differences between each type.

  • The first, and most common, is a sales Win/Loss. This Win/Loss is focused on evaluating the sales team to better understand how they performed in the sales process. Often, this type of Win/Loss is conducted by the sales manager and is part of the salesperson’s evaluation. This type of Win/Loss is well-suited if your goal is to identify the sales team members who are following the script and have good interpersonal skills
  • The second, and also quite common, is the Self-Evaluated Win/Loss. This Win/Loss is usually completed by the salesperson who led the sale and is used to justify the outcome. Since the salesperson who led the sale is also doing the evaluation, these Win/Loss evaluations tend to conclude that a win was due to the salesperson’s skills, while a loss was due to price or bad product. If your goal is to make the motions of a Win/Loss program but not get useful results, this Win/Loss will meet that requirement
  • Third, and somewhat less common, is the independent Win/Loss. This type of Win/Loss usually uses an independent agent to collect feedback from the customers. With this Win/Loss the goal is to have an unbiased perspective for the interviews and analysis. If your goal is to understand the real factors that contribute to sales success and gain insight into the competitive situation, this type of program is a good option

Based on Fletcher/CSI’s findings through our surveys of Win/Loss programs, the more effective programs are those that use an independent agent to complete the Win/Loss evaluations. The independent agent can be a separate department within the company or a third party – as long as the group doing the evaluation is separate from the sales group. Using an independent group removes the bias found in sales-driven or self-evaluated Win/Loss programs while adding a structured process that ensures that deal selection is representative of the full range of company deals.

– Erik Glitman, CEO