The Case for Win Loss Analysis
Diet and exercise. If you ask anyone competent in dealing with body health, they will invariably come back to these two items. When it comes right down to it, that is the key. It is a lifestyle change.
However, our society is riddled with quick fixes—from fad diets to pills—all meant to take the effort out of improving our health. And these quick fixes are tempting. Who doesn’t want to have results without the work? But over time, every one of the cheap substitutes will fail. Why? Because they aren’t built on best practices that provide sustained, real results for your health.
Win Loss Analysis continues to gain popularity as a buzz word for self-help improvement within sales and marketing teams. But it isn’t a quick fix. You can’t do a couple of half-baked actions on the side of everyday business and expect it to be the equivalent of a full-blown win loss analysis program. Too often, companies try the “fad diet” only to give up quickly and continue with business as usual.
Recently we came across this blog post by Jeff Chamberlain entitled, “Why Isn’t Win/Loss Analysis Successful?” which went over three reasons why people attempt win loss analysis and why they fail.
Jeff’s article is no doubt backed by extensive experience with his form of Win Loss Analysis, but the underlying issues with his conclusions is due to an apparent flaw in methodology. It is indicative of the “fad diet” approach people take with Win Loss Analysis.
Let’s take them one at a time:
Problem one: Not winning enough deals
Jeff points out that it’s difficult to gather enough data if you don’t have enough deals to evaluate. Truth be told, having enough people to contact (or sample) is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a win loss analysis program. But Jeff includes telltale signs of the “quick fix” attitude, and not just by actually using the term “quick results”. He points out that the patience of those requesting data may wear out before you are able to get the results.
This is the classic “quick fix” mentality. How many times have you done a workout program for two weeks, only to give up before any actual results can occur?
That isn’t to say that real insights can’t be found immediately. Some of our clients get critical insights right from the first few interviews. But the attitude that you can do it in a week or two and you’re good is the problem.
The key is, you must be consistent over time to continually gather data and analyze it for new insights. Again, win loss analysis is a lifestyle change. You can’t just quiz a couple people, label it win loss analysis, and call it good.
Problem two: Understanding best practices
The heart of Jeff’s reasoning with this one is it’s too hard to get objective, accurate best practices. His point is that you have to have sales involved to get the interviews and that the sales team will purposely attempt to skew the buyer’s responses to make themselves look better.
In our experience, buyers generally want to give accurate feedback. It doesn’t help them to give misinformation on their sales and product experience. But if the salesperson is the one conducting the interview, you again are “exercising the wrong way”.
The problem with this comes from the root problem of how you run your win loss analysis program. Is it possible for sales to try to manipulate responses? Yes, if you leave it up to them to get your feedback, but you can’t run a proper win loss analysis program this way.
Sales involvement is critical in making a program run effectively, but you need to have it run by an objective third party, either within the company or with a third-party company like Primary Intelligence.
Problem three: Standard reporting requirement
Jeff is correct that win loss should be a requirement for any sales engagement. But again, Jeff’s premise is flawed because he assumes that the salesperson is the one managing the win loss process. Also, he mentions that win loss analysis comes down to a couple of questions when closing out a deal.
Again, this is a classic example of “fad diet” approach with win loss analysis. You can’t expect a salesperson to ask a couple of throwaway questions and consider that effective. This is akin to wearing a Fitbit while eating chips on the couch. Just because you have a “tool” that reports certain activity doesn’t mean it is, by itself, effective.
Win Loss Analysis must be conducted by an objective third party to get objective feedback. It must be with a well-thought-out interview instrument. It must be done consistently over time.
Win Loss Analysis is not, and never will be a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change. It is a culture change within your company.
The case for win loss analysis
Does win loss analysis work? The answer is an emphatic yes! Just like diet and exercise work over the long haul for an individual. With two decades of experience, Primary Intelligence has shown that if companies do win loss analysis the correct way: they make it a priority, they manage it with an objective third party, and they set action plans to correct root problem behavior, they always see results. Always.
But you can’t treat it as a buzz word. You can’t do the “fad diet” of throwing a couple questions in with your sales rep’s conversations with buyers, and think you are going to get any real results.
Is it simple? Yes, it actually is. Is it easy? Not necessarily. It depends on the culture habits you have to change to make the data work for you. Is it worth it? It always is.
Primary Intelligence has proven that win loss analysis, done correctly, always returns results. The key phrase is “done correctly”. The question is, do you have the determination to make it work?
Primary Intelligence can guarantee improving your win rate by at least 10 percent if you run your program the way we recommend.
Talk with us if you really want to change your lifestyle, improve your culture, and win more deals.
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