First Steps: Starting a Win-Loss Analysis Program

The tech industry is fast paced, and a competitive advantage can appear & disappear in any given quarter. Whether there is a new release, new partnership, or acquisition, to continue to grow you need to understand exactly why you are winning or losing to your competition. Three questions you should ask yourself are; how sure are you of the reasons you win or lose to your competition, how current is that information, and most importantly what actions can you take? One of the most effective & insightful actions you can take is to start conducting Win/Loss.

There is a broad range of what may be considered a win-loss analysis program, and it is likely that someone at your company is already conducting some type of win/loss. It could even be as simple as a salesperson trying to get feedback from a prospect after a loss. No matter how large or small your program is you can utilize win/loss analysis to help improve sales outcomes. 

Win/Loss performs best when the objectives are clear. Which is why Structured Win/Loss programs are most effective at providing unique insights, because it provides the clear objectives needed to thrive. Whether or not you have a formalized program, there are many ways you can start conducting Structured Win/Loss or improve upon the program you already have. The three main areas you will need to address before reviewing your options

  1. Who will get the most value?
  2. Workload vs results
  3. Automation vs human intelligence

1. Who Gets the Value?

A win-loss program should add value to the entire enterprise: Product Management, Sales, Marketing and Strategy. All too often organizations are making strategic decisions based mainly through the lens of Sales. A prospect will rarely voice many of the true reasons for losses to the salesperson they worked with. Another challenge is viewing the win-loss feedback as simply a reflection of sales performance vs. the complete prospect experience. Customers and prospects are usually much more open with an independent interviewer.

2. Work vs Results

In addition to impartial feedback, there are other reasons why companies employ a third-party. The workload to conduct quality interviews is big. Even with automated outreach it takes time for follow-up, rescheduling, conversations and documentation. We consider a quality interview to take at least 30 minutes, with critical insights coming after layers of skilled questioning. Who has the skills in your organization to conduct these interviews?  Who has the analytical skills to make observations actionable? If it’s you, how much time do you have for this? Food for thought…

3. Automation vs. Human Intelligence

Our tech clients love automation and data, obviously. The trick in getting results from win-loss is distilling insights from the data and converting it into actionable intelligence. Which leads to… more wins! A common pitfall with win-loss in tech is over-focusing on tools and raw data analytics, missing potentially crucial insights from quality interviews, or actionable insights from the human analysis aspect.  

It’s a common challenge in the Win-Loss industry that we try to avoid. Clients can be buried under raw data, raw transcripts and analytic tools to do the analysis themselves and derive what it all means. Some like it, some don’t, and some explore other options.

The programs that industry leaders run to increase wins have the right mix of human skills, useful tracking/analytic tools, and strategic analysis done by experts. Communicated in an actionable way.

Evaluating Your Options

  • Do your best internally. Warning- this may be centered around Sales perceptions.  
  • Outsource to companies who do shorter quicker interviews, focused on tools for you to do your own analysis and strategy from relatively raw information.
  • Use a partner like Fletcher/CSI to run a complete program with you, focused on skilled interviews and providing analysis and strategic intelligence. Complimented with tools to view analytics, share content and manage the program.

Weighed against the decision factors:

  • Budget (can we afford to hire a partner? Which type?)
  • Resources (can/should we do this ourselves?)
  • Culture (I want to do as much of the work myself as I can)

Best of luck in your journey. Doing this right is your opportunity to directly increase sales, improve solutions and contribute to your company’s strategic future!

Author: Mark Gigliotti, VP Technology Consulting, Fletcher/CSI