A few years ago, I wrote an article about Win-Loss Analysis for Product Managers.
This is an update of that article.
Marketers need to show their internal and external customers the value they bring to the table. Internal customers you say? The first group is Sales. Marketing can go a long way to close the Marketing and Sales loop and in doing so, making both groups the shining stars of any organization. Two areas they can help Sales? Lead generation and Win-Loss Analysis. We will be discussing the latter below.
Win-Loss Analysis is a gem because there are so many benefits for Marketers. First, Marketing is helping Sales and this earns Marketing trust points from Sales. Second, Marketing is getting out of the office and meeting with customers, so they get to put themselves in Sales and customers’ shoes as well as developing relationships with customers. Third, Marketing is able to conduct competitive analysis and market research. The information is valuable regardless of whether the sales opportunity was a win or loss. The combination of all these items can result in stronger product marketing, content management, lead retention program and customer-facing efforts that serve as a win-win for customers and the company.
If win-loss analysis isn’t being conducted, Marketing should take on this role. If Sales is currently conducting win/loss analysis, Marketing can easily sell the Sales team on performing this task by stating the benefits of doing so:
- Marketing can perform the function, whereby helping Sales by saving them valuable time so they can devote more time to generating new business or working on cross-sell and/or up-sell opportunities with existing customers.
- Marketing can act as an objective third party, which will result in a prospect or customer’s ability to be more open about the sales win or loss.
- Marketing can obtain feedback on how to make products and marketing of them more robust, thus resulting in more sales down the road.
So, now that you are conducting win-loss analysis, what is the next step?
Use the following checklist to perform effective win-loss analyses and you will be on your way to generating stronger marketing and sales programs.
Win-Loss Analysis for Marketers
Before The Interview
- Meet with the sales team involved in the win or loss.
Be sure to include the highest-ranking Salesperson in the discussion. Get the Sales team’s input on the background and result of the opportunity. Make Sales as comfortable as possible so they feel open to share details. Some questions to ask include:
-How did Sales initially connect with the customer/prospect?
-Did the salesperson have a pre-existing relationship with the customer/prospect?
-Was the connection a result of a cold call or did the customer/prospect contact the company?
-Where in the sale funnel was the prospect/customer?
-What sales processes were involved to close the sale?
-What products or solutions were used to close the sale?
-What was the result?
-Did sales anticipate this result?
-What was Sales’ opinions of how the sales process went?
-What can be improved to make the sales process more effective?
- Schedule the interview with the customer/prospect.
Let them know in advance the topics you want to discuss.
During The Interview
- Introduce yourself and thank the prospect/customer for their time.
- Explain up front that the purpose of the interview is to learn as much as possible about the customer or prospect’s perceptions and experience during the recent sales process so your organization can continue to improve.
- Discuss confidentiality. State that you want to communicate feedback throughout your organization, but if the customer/prospect feels there are certain aspects that are too sensitive, they should be identified during the conversation.
- Ascertain the following:
-Confirm the opportunity, product/solutions, and get customer/prospect to expound on it. What pains did/didn’t you solve and what are customer/prospect’s expectations in your ability to solve that pain?
-Find out the other firms that were competing for the business. Why was your firm included in the mix?
-Overall, why did/didn’t your company win the business?
-Explain the decision-making process. Which departments were involved in the decision? Who was involved in the decision? What are their titles and where do they sit in the organization? What were the key selection criteria used to make the ultimate decision?
-What was the customer/prospect’s perception of the quality of the Sales team’s management of the relationship? Did the customer/prospect meet other personnel from your organization? What was the customer/prospect’s perception of them?
-What were the customer/prospect’s thoughts about your proposal and presentation?
-Was the customer/prospect comfortable with your capabilities? Which capabilities were most important to them? How would they grade those capabilities?
-What were the customer/prospect’s thoughts about your pricing? Was the customer/prospect able to determine true value from your pricing?
-How did you stack up against the competition? What did the customer/prospect view as your strengths and weaknesses? What did the customer/prospect view as your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
-Did the customer/prospect call your references? If so, were they helpful?
-What was the customer/prospect’s pre-existing perceptions of your organization? Did their perception change? If so, how did it change?
-What advice would the customer/prospect give you for working with them or other companies in the future?
-Would the customer/prospect feel comfortable in recommending your solutions to others?
-If a win, would customer feel comfortable in participating in a case study, testimonial, joint press release, or beta test (for a future solution)?
-Does customer/prospect have any additional comments or suggestions?
After The Interview
- Send a thank you note to the customer/prospect within 24 hours of your meeting.
- Summarize in writing the notes from the interview and distribute them to appropriate internal personnel.
- Conduct the debriefing meeting with Sales and other appropriate internal groups, and list any action items that came out of the meeting with the customer/prospect.
- Address any action items that came out of the customer/prospect and debriefing meetings as promptly as possible.
Conduct Win-Loss Analysis regardless of whether you won the business or not. Consistently implementing this process will make your solutions and your company more valuable, and build more credibility in the eyes of your customers and prospects.