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Win Loss Programs: Why Such a Bitter Pill for Sales?

Despite the increasingly competitive nature of B2B selling and the desire by some executives to actively engage their firms in Win Loss initiatives, many sales teams do not welcome the addition of Win Loss programs to their organizations and, in fact, many sales reps actively resist such initiatives. The primary reason for this is uncertainty surrounding how Win Loss findings will be used.

Key Win Loss Concerns from Sales

Sales reps typically voice the following concerns about Win Loss initiatives:

  • Will the Win Loss program be used as a performance-based metric to judge my sales skills?
  • Will I be fired or demoted for buyer feedback that singles out my poor performance, even if it’s inaccurate?
  • Will my peers be privy to the details of the feedback? What about Marketing and other parts of the organization?
  • Will I have the opportunity to tell my side of the story, especially regarding negative feedback?

Win Loss Benefits for Sales

Despite both active and passive resistance from some sales teams, most organizations are using Win Loss data to assist their sales representatives. Late 2015 research from Primary Intelligence found that over three-quarters of B2B managers (76 percent) said their organizations are using Win Loss intelligence to identify sales strengths and weaknesses

Sales Teams Face Significant Quota and Learning Curve Challenges

The research also found that sales teams today face significant pressures. For example, sales reps shoulder increasing annual quotas: 34 percent of B2B sales reps have annual quotas of $1 million or more, as shown in the figure below.

 

Annual B2B Sales Rep Quota

Win Loss Concerns From Sales - SOWL 2015 Average Sales Quota

 

And to meet these quotas in increasingly complex sales cycles, reps are spending significant time—over one year in some cases—to fully ramp up in order to sell their company’s offerings:

  • 21% of sales reps need 3-6 months to ramp up.
  • 31% of reps require 7-12 months to fully understand what they’re selling.
  • 12% of reps need more than a year to be fully conversant in the solutions they’re offering.

Average Sales Ramp Up Time

Win Loss Concerns From Sales - SOWL 2015 Average Sales Ramp up Time

 

Effectively Communicating Win Loss Benefits

The high percentage of “Unsure” responses in the preceding two charts highlights the disconnect that sometimes exists between Marketing, Product Management, Market Research, and Competitive Intelligence—teams that are typically assigned to run Win Loss programs—and sales reps, who may not see recognizable benefits from Win Loss initiatives.

To achieve greater buy-in of Win Loss programs, individuals responsible for running their company’s Win Loss initiatives may need to increase their level and type of communication, including details of specific ways in which Win Loss efforts can aid Sales teams.

For example, communication that includes buyer, competitor, and industry insights to help reps achieve their quotas faster and decrease the amount of time spent in the ramp-up phase would clearly demonstrate the direct benefits of Win Loss initiatives to individual sales reps, thereby generating more enthusiasm and participation from sales teams about Win Loss programs.

What’s been your experience with Win Loss programs, either as a sales professional or as a marketing, product management, competitive intelligence, or support manager? Share your comments below!

 

Primary Intelligence
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Primary Intelligence delivers outcomes for B2B marketing, sales, and product leaders, guiding clients on ways to win more deals and retain more revenue through Win Loss Analysis and Customer Experience Analysis. Primary Intelligence speaks directly to buyers and sellers to uncover insights, root causes, and the path to improvement. Expert consultants initiate transformation in Fortune 500 companies, including 6 of the Fortune 20.

Primary Intelligence enables hundreds of clients across more than 30 industries to hear the voice of their buyers. It’s all possible thanks to our TruVoice software, proven methodologies, and exceptional people.
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