The Secret Reason Keeping You From Improving Sales

There are a variety of reasons why a company chooses to not implement a formal Win Loss program. Most obvious reasons include lack of budget or simply not recognizing the value of a structured program. Or sometimes the timing is not right to evaluate and implement a program. And sometimes organizations have never done any Win Loss analysis and don’t know what they’re missing.

Primary Intelligence knows that without a process of extracting quantitative and qualitative intelligence directly from those who make the decisions to buy or not buy, and without a vehicle to organize that information and make it readily available and understandable, valuable knowledge is never obtained and needed change doesn’t happen.

But what’s the real reason?

The Hidden Reason

But there’s a hidden reason why some organizations don’t adopt a formal Win Loss program. It has nothing to do with budget, and it isn’t about timing and priorities. It is rarely if ever mentioned.

That reason is FEAR. Fear in peoples’ minds of what a thorough Win Loss program will uncover. Some decision-makers may withhold support for a Win Loss program as a misguided means of self-preservation. Or they may make do with a minimal effort to say they’re doing something to evaluate their sales performance, but mostly they’re just staying safe.

To some extent, all of us try to make ourselves look good while keeping our weaknesses under wraps. We aren’t looking for ways to expose our failures. So it is understandable that a sales VP may not want a group of fellow executives scrutinizing recent sales engagements. A product manager or marketing executive may be a little sensitive about their job performance and how they are perceived within the organization. It goes without saying that sales representatives are always in a state of paranoia.


But unless and until an organization takes a hard and methodical look at WHY they win or lose deals by asking the right people (their buyers), they will never realize much improvement or growth. Until people get enough feedback and coaching, they will continue in their habits, good or bad.

The question is not IF a Win Loss program is necessary, because the benefits of rigorous Win Loss analysis are proven over and over. Instead, the question is how to overcome the hurdles that prevent a formal Win Loss program from being implemented and embraced by an organization. Companies can find the budget for things that they really need. Value can be understood and communicated. Timing can be adjusted for priorities.

Overcoming Your Fear of Win Loss Analysis Has Rewards

Fear can be overcome when top leaders in an organization position a Win Loss program as a way to improve for everyone’s benefit. People must realize that Win Loss analysis is a positive process to help them in their future performance, and is not a way to criticize past performance. Win Loss, when done right, uses the past in a positive way to improve the future.

There’s an old saying that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Repeating history can be a good thing if past performance and results were stellar. But if outcomes haven’t been what they should have been or as desired, something needs to change. And the only way to change and grow is to learn what happened, analyze it, recognize it, and then make the changes that are necessary. Everyone benefits from positive change.

Fear is part of our human experience, but it shouldn’t be part of a corporate culture that hopes to improve sales performance. We need to overcome fear of Win Loss analysis in ourselves and keep fear out of the organizations that we lead. Our future depends on it.

John Wheatley on sablinkedinJohn Wheatley on sabemail
John Wheatley
Global Sales Consultant at Primary Intelligence
John has been engaged in direct sales to enterprise and large organizations across the United States and Canada for many years, often with international applications. Much of his focus has been in IT and telecommunications industries using complex technologies.

At Primary Intelligence, John gets a lot of satisfaction by helping customers find the right solutions to solve specific business needs or problems, especially where “people resources” are part of the solution. Widely traveled and a product of the University of Utah, John’s previous work experience also includes market research, business writing, software design, and sales management.
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