Win, Lose or Draw - 360 Degree View of Sales
True ‘A’ Player Sales Reps know their capture and loss ratio. Why do they know it? Because, they understand that without good win/loss/no decision data, they have limited information about their sales trends. ‘A’ Players want to know if wins are trending with lower profitability. They want to know if the sales cycle is lengthening or shortening. They wonder which market segments, verticals, and company sizes are providing them the most success. All of this leads to better usage of sales rep efforts, and better wins in the long run.
A post by my colleague, Tony Albachiara, explains in more detail what a win/loss/no decision analysis does.
If you’re new to win-loss analysis, I suggest you check out our free Win-Loss Questionnaire.
How This Applies to You
Winning more deals is the obvious key to success for an individual, as well as a company. How this is achieved is the part that is less obvious (and more indicative of success). So what’s the plan?
Flip conventional wisdom: Use a win/loss analysis to structure your next deal. Differentiation is always crucial to winning more deals. Using a win/loss analysis as the basis of your entire sales structure could do just that. Stand out above the competition by knowing what will or will not work with your prospect.
So now the question is – how do you achieve that? I’ll look to address this in the following sections.
Why You Need a Win/Loss Analysis
- Continuous Improvement. The landscape is always changing, and you need to keep up with those changes. First, market conditions aren’t improving. Secondly, the competition is continuing to grow in size and strength – don’t expect that to stop. Third, customers realize they no longer need to pound a path to your door. You have to find ways to bring them to you, and then convert them before someone else does.
- Problem Diagnosis. World class companies perform win/loss analyses regularly. Why? They realize it is a very useful tool. It helps them discover weaknesses and eliminate them. Likewise, they can identify strengths and continue to capitalize on them. If you don’t keep up with this practice, you’ll end up out of the game. Don’t be left behind because you didn’t realize the importance of this tool in bettering yourself and your organization.
- Competitive Advantage. In the event that your competitors aren’t utilizing a Win/Loss Analysis you’ve got a major leg up. How, you ask? It will clearly separate you in the eyes of the buyer by providing you with insight into what specific prospects will be most receptive to. This will lead to more wins. This in turn separates you from the rest of the field.
What does a World Class Win/Loss Analysis Look Like?
It incorporates 4 distinct factors:
- 360 Degree View – A 360 Degree view compiles an assessment through the eyes of your customer that provides transparency into the reasons why sales opportunities are won, lost, or receive no decision.
This is crucial for a number of reasons. Too many firms want to focus on the big loss and why it got away. This is important for sure. But you also need to know your wins, why they may be trending in a particular direction, or if you ideal customer profile is changing.
A good 360 Degree View will focus on all outcomes:
- Wins: Great resource to watch trends and understand what is working in your market, segment, territory, etc.
- Losses: Losses can point to a weakness in your product, support service (ie: maintenance), or sales process
- No Decision: Uncover trends that might otherwise go unnoticed (but that doesn’t make them any less important). Perhaps funding is drying up in your market? All of a sudden the key to selling is to provide financing or purchase terms.
- Timely – Whenever possible the interviews should be done shortly after the buyer has made the decision. This is important for three reasons:
1) Customers are most receptive to sharing this information at this time. The buyer may be basking in the comfort of knowing that the decision is made and feel less threatened about sharing the information.
2) The accuracy of the information will be highest when collected quickly.
3) By gathering data shortly after the event, you help to position yourself better for the next deal. You know how to adjust your offering if necessary. This works whether you won or lost the previous deal. Human psychology is an interesting thing. Rest assured that if you’re quick to follow through with the customer, then you’re putting yourself one step ahead of the competition.
- Tied to CRM – It’s easiest to maintain this win/loss data as part of your CRM archive. As customers progress through the buyer’s journey, this can be set as the event trigger for your interviews. When an opportunity is converted to won, lost or closed, an interview can be initiated automatically so the information is captured in a timely manner.
- Independent – Win/Loss best practice is to have the interview conducted by an independent 3rd party (ie: consulting firm). If that’s not possible, then solicit the help of marketing to manage this process. They are one step removed from sales and have a better chance of obtaining data from the buyer. Third parties can also be objective, which leads to better data and analysis.
SBI has a team of world class consultants trained to perform this type of service. By analyzing your wins and losses, SBI can pinpoint areas for improvement. These improvements have gone a long way in rejuvenating sales pipelines, elevating conversion rates, and improving revenue.
As with many sales techniques and tools, just the act of undertaking an effort like a win/loss analysis will put you a cut above the rest. Getting the right team to perform this analysis can spell the difference in making your number and not. If you have questions or comments, leave them below – get started improving your win/loss ratio today!
About Joel McCabe
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