Fortune 500 Technology Company

Case Study

Win Loss Analysis changes the conversation for a Fortune 500 technology company

Why not disclose the company name?

Many of our clients request anonymity since they find Primary Intelligence’s services to be such a competitive advantage. They are hesitant to publicly disclose to its competitors of the partnership. However, the contents of this report and the outcome the client realized are true.

In a nutshell

A large technology company was getting feedback from buyers through its Win Loss program: the price is too high. The company used the program to gather more information about how buyers were thinking about price and what the competition was doing.

Through the Win Loss program's buyer interviews, seller discussions, and executive team meetings, the company discovered the cloud solution wasn't aligning with buyer needs when they had non-mission critical applications. To solve the issue, the product team introduced six new configuration models, resulting in a solution that was easier to sell, easier to buy, and produced a two-year competitive advantage, according to Gartner.

Did you know 36% of lost deals could have been won? Download a free copy of our industry report, “Changing Your Sales Outcomes.”

The problem: high prices

Jim, the Vice President of Cloud Computing for a large technology company, kept hearing the same thing: your price is too high. The feedback wasn’t uncommon, but this time it was different. The company had recently implemented a Win Loss Analysis program with Primary Intelligence, and the feedback was coming directly from buyers as a major reason they were choosing the competition.

“My first thought, to be really transparent, was we’re just not selling our value,” said Jim. “We’re really good at mission critical applications in the cloud. We’re good at it. We have a very strong value proposition. We have an incredible amount of client references and use cases.”

The issue of pricing continued to bubble to the top during Primary Intelligence’s monthly transformation sessions before he took notice. “After getting knocked in the head three or four times with the deals that we lost, I realized it actually is price,” he said.

Primary Intelligence’s findings on their price position were hard to ignore, according to RoxAnne Loosle, Primary Intelligence Program Consultant, because it came directly from buyers. “It’s typical for a sales person to say they lose because of price,” she said. “Sales people say this far more frequently than is realistic which makes product people, like him, question the validity of this anecdotal feedback. Hearing about the pricing directly from prospects over and over again and at the large percentage differences buyers were reporting was compelling.”

Once Jim took notice, he resisted the urge to implement the obvious knee-jerk reaction: lowering the price. Instead, “I realized we needed to understand more about what clients meant by price,” he said.

“My first thought, to be really transparent, was we’re just not selling our value.”
—Jim, Vice President of Cloud Computing

The solution: internal and external feedback

To really understand the issue, Jim and RoxAnne undertook a three-step process of discovery.

Step 1: Surveys and Phone Discussions with Buyers

RoxAnne continued to gather feedback from recently closed deals to better understand pricing. Recently closed deals were surveyed to gather quantitative feedback (the “numbers”) and then followed up with phone discussions to understand the reason for the numbers (the “why”). RoxAnne also worked with Jim to identify specific probing questions she could ask around pricing and value that would illuminate the issue.

Step 2: Discovery Sessions with the Sales Teams

RoxAnne hosted discovery sessions for every buyer interview with the internal cloud computing division team responsible for the deal. During the sessions, she outlined the core reasons the buyer did or did not purchase from the company, and then worked with the team to identify the root causes. “It is important to ask the simple question of, 'What happened to cause x?' on the discovery calls and get to the specifics,” RoxAnne said.

Meanwhile, Jim continued to dig deeper. He met frequently with his product team to dissect the problem, and worked on his own to look for patterns.

“He took the approach of challenging himself on the possibility that their price really was too high,” RoxAnne said. “The analysis as to why the price was too high allowed him to gain a clear view of the situation. It wasn’t just enough to read the client feedback, but attending the discovery calls was important as well.”

Jim agrees. “That’s when the eye opener came in,” he said. “It was the discovery session and the interview with the client that helped us determine why we’re losing because of price.”

Step 3: Transformation Sessions with Senior Leadership

Ken Allred, CEO of Primary Intelligence, first voiced buyer concerns with pricing during transformation meetings with senior leadership. The meetings focused on implementing changes to address buyer needs, which in this case was the persistent feedback on pricing. “Transformation services are the prescriptive part,” Ken explained. “We’re telling them what to work on based on the buyer’s feedback and then how to work on it based on the discovery discussions.”

During the sessions, Ken facilitated conversations with Jim and the other senior leaders to further provide the insights the company needed to take action.

“Primary Intelligence helped change the conversation," Jim said. "It was sobering. They opened up our eyes to a level beyond why we’re losing. They helped us uncover something that enabled us to drive more innovation. It was really meaningful in terms of how can we really change and be much more agile.”

Ken credits the company's buyers with changing the conversation. “The reason we can change the conversation is because it’s not our voice, it’s the buyer’s voice," Ken said. "Most organizations will never be able to capture the buyer’s voice the way we can. The fact that we can capture the buyer’s voice the way we do with such detail and depth and then give that voice unfiltered to decision makers changes the conversation.”

“The fact that we can capture the buyer’s voice the way we do with such detail and depth and then give that voice unfiltered to decision makers changes the conversation.”
—Ken Allred, CEO of Primary Intelligence

Insights: match configuration with the application

The lightbulb moment came when Jim reduced the problem down to a simple analogy.

“I realized it was the BMW problem," he said. "One size doesn’t fit all, but we had one solution for all applications. It’s kind of like we have a BMW 7 Series and the starting price is $85,000. It’s a darn good car. The people who want the BMW, they love it, and they want all the things we can put on it. We were not losing on price with those people who needed enterprise solutions.

“But then your cousin comes in and she has $65,000 and she wants a 2 door soft top. We were saying, ‘No, we only have a sedan and it’s $85,000.’ She says, ‘Oh, that’s great, but it’s too expensive. I’m not going to go with you.’ When customers need something light and then we propose something that’s really costly, they say, ‘You’re not listening to me. I don’t need to BMW 7 series. I need something lighter than that.’ You can’t blame the people who say we need to lower our price.”

Jim realized he needed to offer alternate solutions for clients without enterprise solution needs. More specifically, he needed to align the solution’s configuration with the application. For mission critical applications, the existing solution would continue to be the best bet. For non-mission critical applications, however, the company could offer lighter configurations better suited to the job.

“Primary Intelligence helped change the conversation. It was sobering. They opened up our eyes to a level beyond why we’re losing.”
—Jim, Vice President of Cloud Computing

Actions: offer lighter configurations

Jim and his product team designed and rolled out six additional configuration options for lighter cloud computing solutions. The new configurations were pre-priced and pre-packaged, offering greater transparency to the customer. For a lighter workload--those non-mission critical applications--the price was less expensive.

"That means we could improve our price competitiveness, which is why Primary Intelligence kept saying we were losing,” Jim said. “In fact, we didn’t have to lower our price at all. We just came up with models that are tied to workloads and this is what clients are looking for.”

“We didn't have to lower our price at all."
—Jim, Vice President of Cloud Computing

The Outcome: short sales cycles, better product fit

While the change is still early on, Jim is already seeing benefits from the shift. Specifically, internal and external feedback is pointing to three primary outcomes from the new product suite.

1. Solution that is easier to sell

Jim expects benefits like a shorter sales cycle and higher sales satisfaction because the new portfolio is easier to sell and package for clients (often called “solutioning”). “According to Gartner, no one in the industry is doing this today. No one,” he said.

2. Solution that is easier to buy

Most importantly, the solutions are now priced competitively, allowing buyers to focus on the value of their data centers and industry knowledge. “The client has the ability to quickly consume this configuration because the solution has already been tested, so they don’t need to go through a proof of concept. It’s also very transparent. Our clients can see our pricing right up front,” Jim said.

3. Solution that is competitive

Jim has had several discussions with industry experts, including Gartner, which point to a unique competitive advantage. “Gartner said it’s a competitive advantage that we'll have for two years, so we’ve got to run with this really hard," Jim said. "We uncovered something that will enable us to be very competitive in the market.”

"Gartner said it’s a competitive advantage that we'll have for two years, so we’ve got to run with this really hard."
—Jim, Vice President of Cloud Computing

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