Win/Loss – The Packaging Matters as Much as the Data

The most effective strategic Win/Loss programs incorporate data from all business functions across an organization. Strategic programs also evaluate seven key decision factors to understand why companies win or lose deals. The decision factors include sales, marketing, service and delivery, product function, vendor, economics, and references. In order for companies to generate Win/Loss insights and leverage the data to improve their products and solutions, they must have strong Win/Loss programs. However, the Win/Loss report format is the key element that allows companies to put the analyzed data into action. Win/Loss reports should be clear, concise, and contain actionable insights so that top executives can make timely decisions.

Over the years, we have experimented with packaging our Win/Loss data in different report formats. While we focus on customized Win/Loss solutions for each client, one common feature is that most of our programs provide both qualitative and quantitative insights. Reporting on both qualitative and quantitative findings is laborious when interviews with single prospects involve dozens of questions. In the past, we tried using a Win/Loss report format that offered detailed answers for each question, but realized it took clients too long to sift through the information and take action.

Shows information overload, which is not what the Win/Loss report format should convey

Now, we focus on distilling our individual deal reports into two-to-three page summaries that are concise and easy to digest. Each report provides background on the company and opportunity, a short executive summary, a few sentences about each of the key decision factors that summarize the individual questions, and rich quotes from the interview. We also include a simple table that summarizes the quantitative data. The table shows how the interviewee rates the importance of the decision factors, and how the client compares to its competitors. Our clients find that it is significantly more effective to read a summary of the questions pertaining to an individual decision factor, than it is to read each specific answer, especially if there are 20 or more individual deal reports to evaluate.

Magazine with simple pictures that illustrates concept of a digestible win/loss report format

In addition to offering succinct individual deal reports, we also deliver 15-20 page rollup reports that synthesize the findings from multiple individual reports on a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis. The rollup reports boil up the data from the individual deal reports so that we can make global, high level recommendations to clients after they review their programs for significant durations. Our clients believe it is valuable to look at trends across both won and lost deals, and see if they hear similar answers across the decision factors over time. After reading a rollup report, clients walk away with a few key findings that stand out about their products and solutions. This gives them a quick snapshot of the tactics and strategies that they are effectively executing, and the areas that need immediate improvement.

Some executives might love the opportunity to immerse themselves in every single question and data point pertaining to a Win/Loss deal. However, most corporate employees are more likely to pay attention to the findings, and carefully read the reports, if they receive a manageable amount of information in a user-friendly Win/Loss report format. Would you rather read 100 pages of raw, detailed answers for 10 deals, or 20 pages of analyzed insights that provide strategic direction?

– Holly McClelland, Director of Marketing, Fletcher/CSI