If your company uses market information to make decisions, you are almost certain to be familiar with the ‘Of these items, how important was or which of these would you consider to be first, second, and third most important?’ These questions result in a measurement of stated importance, or those things that are easily identified and verbalized as important.
At the most basic level, win loss analysis helps sales, marketing, and product leaders understand the reasons for their organizational wins and losses so that they can increase their win rates and capture more business in the future.
Win loss programs are important at all levels of the organization because it helps explain why buyers choose specific solutions and why they do not choose others.
At a higher level, win loss programs help transform organizations as they make fundamental changes to what are often systemic problems. When managers see patterns in buyer feedback that consistently show outstanding—or sub-par—performance, they can replicate best practices throughout their organizations and avoid root cause behaviors that hinder long-term success. In this way, win loss analysis is sometimes compared to Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Unknown
This is obviously a cultural rather than a medical definition, but if you sell for a living, and you cannot figure out what you’re doing that’s causing you to lose deals you were sure you were going to win, you might start to feel like you’re losing your mind.
When you get some honest feedback, and start doing different things, the outcomes change, and the insanity goes away. Suddenly the world makes a lot more sense, and you’re closing a lot more deals.
Sometimes, it is interesting to try to classify different areas of research and intelligence to see how certain specialties have originated, evolved and grown into their own species, so to speak. This study of sales intelligence can provide intelligence practitioners with the ability to see how their efforts might support or interrelate with other disciplines.
Recently, The Economist published an article titled “The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil, But Data.” That article focuses on the market domination of internet giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google (among others). These profitable titans use their vast stores of data to capitalize on their size and maintain their market advantage. “Google can see what people search for, Facebook what they share, Amazon what they buy.” Their market intelligence comes from the quantity they collect, with quality being a lot less important.
For the hundreds of thousands of businesses that aren’t one of the internet behemoths, organizations that face a treacherous competitive landscape and possess far fewer data points to rely on, the quality of data is the key to using it to your advantage.
We think of Customer Relations Management (“CRM”) system’s primary purpose as being the facilitation of the sales process. Your sales reps need something to keep track of their deals in a manner that is superior to a spreadsheet. But, the truth is, if we just want to keep track of things, a spreadsheet would work just fine.
Another, better way to define a CRM is: “CRM aligns business processes with customer strategies to build customer loyalty and increase profits over time.” That’s a pretty inclusive definition that is clearly more than just tracking a transaction. And yet, how many sales professionals treat the CRM as a tracking tool?
As competition increases for most companies, understanding why companies win and lose sales is increasingly critical.
Since the State of Win Loss study reported more competitive activity this year than previously, gathering data about buyers and the buying process presents a clear advantage.
Successfully starting and running a win loss analysis program takes skill, patience, and tenacity. Here are four tactical recommendations to help ensure your company’s win/loss efforts are effective.
How to Analyze Sales Win Rate
If you pare down to the simplest method, calculating your sales win rate is the number of pursuits you win to the number you lose. So if you are involved in 100 sales engagements and you win 40 of them, you have a 40 percent win rate.
However, where do you draw the line as to what constitutes an engaged sales deal? You could look at every lead provided to the sales team or you could choose to include only the deals that get past a certain stage in the sales process.
Some organizations only count leads that are “sales ready” as true opportunities.
“Sales Ready” is when the prospective buyer Read more
Much has been written about Big Data, including the insights that can be gleaned from thousands or millions of data points, especially in the data-rich B2C market.
But what about Little Data? What can we learn from just a few data points? And when is Little Data appropriate in market, competitive, and buyer research?
We’ve often been asked how many data points are “good enough.” Clients who have worked in consumer marketing expect answers with phrases such as “confidence level” and “margin of error.”
Can you imagine going into a strategy session not knowing the growth projections for your market, your product or your industry?
Can you conceive of not knowing your share of the market compared to the market share of your competitors?
Arming yourself with this strategic quantitative data is critical to understanding how to grow your market presence, how to sell more products and services and how to win more customers.
But equally important Read more
Over the years, Primary Intelligence has collected oodles of data across numerous industries. To give you a sense, we typically analyze thousands of deals annually, and we’ve been doing this a while. We love data. But one thing we love more than data is turning that data into something meaningful for you. This is why we’ve updated our Competitive Advantage Score.
Let me back up and recap. Read more
In Primary Intelligence’s recently published 2016 State of Customer Experience research findings, we found some interesting data points to suggest that B2B firms are increasingly serious about collecting, analyzing, and responding to feedback from their customers. In this blog, we share three of the more interesting findings from our latest annual research on the Customer Experience (CX) market.
All companies look for ways to grow revenue, and increasingly, employees in every department—not just sales and business development—are called upon to identify opportunities for revenue expansion. In these scenarios, department heads will often look to the organization’s existing customer base to upsell and cross-sell new products and services.
This, in turn, typically leads to questions of, “How satisfied are our customers?” and “Have our customers benefited from a good customer experience with our organization?” Having a Customer Experience (CX) Program in place helps to facilitate answers to these questions.
After attending a SCIP conference, a market and competitive intelligence manager came away with, “We can do a lot better with the program” and “[need] to improve our interview process as well as our interview template.”
At the time, the software company’s attempt to gain valuable buyer feedback using win loss analysis was built solely on telephone interviews with their prospects. Product managers were given this additional responsibility and comprised the company’s win loss team. This team was turning out 100 individual win loss assessments per year.
Their team worked with a standard list of 15 to 20 questions and feverishly wrote notes while conducting phone interviews. Since the calls were not being recorded, interviewers had to be careful to not get distracted while taking notes. These notes would later be the sole source to build their win loss report. “We found from the results and feedback we were getting that we weren’t probing enough. We identified the information we were gathering was not rich enough. We had to beef up our skills,” the manager said.
As such, enhancing the win loss program became their key initiative.
When my kids were young, I was constantly monitoring their growth. After each well child checkup with the pediatrician, I’d compare their height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) to those of their peers in government growth charts. Were they growing too fast? Too slow? Just right?
Height, weight, and BMI are all good indicators of childhood health. But what about businesses? How can they ensure they’re progressing at a healthy rate as well?
Launching a win loss program is like starting a new school year. Hopes are high to earn an “A” in math, to win the science fair, and to be crowned homecoming king or queen. Win loss programs often start out this way too: We sharpen our pencils and draft a new interview guide; we make sure our interview invitations are polished and attention-getting; and we daydream about the beautiful spread Analytics will soon show (well, maybe that last part is just me).
In any case, our ambitions for a new school year don’t always unfold the way we’d hoped. While Primary Intelligence can’t promise good grades and homecoming crowns, we can make sure you see results from your win loss program. Here are three steps to make the most of your buyer feedback and increase your win rate:
While working with a client in the Insurance industry, my team was asked to conduct Customer Experience interviews for a small portion of their Canadian market. And by small, I mean four interviews. Total.
However, these were key accounts the client did not want to lose, and the competition was advancing fast and hard. So getting detailed customer intel quickly was priority job #1.
So we suited up and got to work reaching out to these accounts. Over the next few weeks, we were able to schedule and complete all four interviews.
Small Sample Lead to Big Customer Experience Insights
We have all been a customer and spent time dwelling on the experiences we have had with a particular product or service. In one form or another, whether we have intended to or not, we likely have participated in some type of customer experience analysis. This could be anything from the local restaurant’s suggestion/complaint box to the rating systems set up around online shopping.
Our participation to provide feedback help companies to get a clear view of what customers are thinking in order to improve the offering or ward off difficulties. Since we are customers as well as suppliers, measuring our customers’ experience with our solutions should be a simple matter.
When it comes to win loss and customer experiences programs, our customers tend to have one of two goals in mind:
1. Collect feedback about their performance in recent deals, or
2. Reach an outcome, such as a 10% increase in their win rate
There is value in both objectives, but there is also a critical difference. Here’s how I think about it: In each voice of the buyer program, a problem or question prompts the research initiative. This problem is like a leaking faucet. For our first goal, we can solve the problem by offering a bigger bucket. Capturing more feedback from buyers means we achieve more of our objective. But, to reach an outcome and to change the result, we can’t simply catch the overflow; we have to fix the faucet.
As more of our clients choose an outcome-oriented goal, more are asking, what does it take to fix the faucet? What separates a data collection effort from a program that gives me an outcome, like an improved win rate or customer retention rate?
The answer is simple:
Most people would agree that we’re drowning in a sea of information. Email inboxes exploding. Drinking data from a fire hose. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s essential versus just interesting.
Perhaps the problem isn’t that we’re getting too much information but that we’re getting the wrong kind of information.
In the Primary Intelligence 2014 State of Win Loss survey, we found that, despite the onslaught of information, most people say they want—no, need—more information about why they’re winning and losing in competitive sales opportunities.
Over half (57 percent) of respondents in the 2014 Primary Intelligence State of Win Loss survey said they’re collecting feedback from both buyers and sales reps when evaluating why they won and why they lost in competitive sales opportunities.
At Primary Intelligence, we applaud these results, since it gives company executives a clear picture of what happened in each opportunity.
Feedback that comes exclusively from buyers or sales reps can provide a unidimensional view, especially when “politics” was a factor or other extenuating circumstances were at play. Getting feedback from both parties gives you “both sides of the story,” so to speak.