Plex Systems engaged Primary Intelligence to develop a win loss analysis strategy by using our strong knowledge of win loss and the ability to effectively apply analytics for improved business results.
In a nutshell
Primary Intelligence helped Plex Systems and its Director of Product Marketing, Dave Morfas, to focus on achieving outcomes with their win-loss strategy. After analyzing customer feedback and attending several discovery sessions (post-sales debriefs), Dave uncovered key factors that presented opportunities for sales and product improvements. Utilizing data-driven insights, he re-evaluated communication channels, bridged a significant gap between teams, and executed a strategic plan to improve results . These actions contributed to a 72 percent improvement in win rates within two years.
Different employees had different opinions as to what were the most critical win-loss factors, but we didn’t have a good way of validating or marrying those opinions with direct input from the prospect or customer themselves. We had no way of tying together why we were really winning and losing.”
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The problem: Data silos led to differing opinions, disconnect with buyer needs, and lack of win-loss clarity
Dave knew Plex had a tremendous opportunity with the win-loss program to better align Plex to market demands and provide data-driven, strategic insight for the executive team. Additionally, Plex’s sales cycle can be long, so it was imperative to validate the product direction to avoid spending resources while heading down the wrong path.
But Plex first faced several challenges to achieve the desired outcomes from their win-loss program:
- Although Primary Intelligence was providing valuable insights, critical learnings from the program were not being appropriately disseminated throughout the organization. As such, the data-rich insights were not being used as actively as they could be. “We didn’t have a lot of corroboration between what prospects were saying and what [our internal] people were saying. Different employees had different opinions as to what were the most critical win-loss factors, but we didn’t have a good way of validating or marrying those opinions with direct input from the prospect or customer themselves. We had no way of tying together why we were really winning and losing. We needed to put a stake in the ground.”
- Plex needed better, fact-based connectivity between the sales cycle and product development because sales naturally tends to have filtered opinions on why they lost sales, and product development had difficulty validating what were true prospect needs vs. sales team ‘asks.’ “What we found was that despite having this information, we still had different opinions on win-loss because people were not actively surfacing the reasons and communicating them internally, or at least weren’t doing so with quantified, documented prospect feedback.”
- Plex’s daily sales process was disconnected from the win-loss program. Although the win-loss program was a genuine sales resource, it wasn’t a resource that sales people were integrating daily into their deals. “There was no partnership in place where they could call and say ‘I’m working with X prospect and this is what they manufacture, this is what they are using today, these are their pain points… can we come up with a good strategy and approach for this opportunity based on what other similar prospects did?”
The Plex executive team wanted factual prospect- and customer-driven data to help inform core business decisions critical to customers’ success and the company’s growth. They needed actionable data to position the company in alignment with buyer needs so they could guide customers to the right solution. Dave Morfas said, “We’ve got to validate with our prospects and our customers that what we’re thinking and developing is important to them, otherwise our positioning is way off base.”
“We get very specific into our business because in some of these areas we know we provide excellent quality and we know we have differentiation. But there are other areas we need to measure to see if a competitor is better.”
The solution: Used discover sessions to get the true story, understand buyer needs, identify best practices for sales, and gain a competitive advantage
Primary Intelligence and Plex re-imagined an integrated, comprehensive win-loss program. Dave shared, “A good win-loss program requires laser-like focus. It’s multi-dimensional. It’s not just Primary Intelligence. It’s not just a sales person’s opinion. It’s not just the market’s view. It’s everything combined together, supported by sales and management leadership’s desire for transparency.”
Dave found the discovery sessions revealed the true story, clarified customer comments, and shared best practices. He said, “We really wanted to validate where we thought we were different and perhaps opportunities to further differentiate.”
Plex selects a percentage of won and lost opportunities, and those customers provide feedback to Primary Intelligence via an interview. The interviews disclose key factors, major impacts, minor impacts, and competitive intelligence—quantitatively through the survey and then qualitatively through the interview. Then, Dave shares that feedback on a weekly basis and recaps it in a quarterly report as well.
The discovery sessions validate or refute what features should be included in the solution to keep Plex aligned to buyer needs, giving the company a competitive advantage. Plex now has much better clarity into their business at very unique and specific points, and tests those in the interview process to understand root causes and best practices for their sales people.
This win-loss process allowed Plex to better understand the root causes for losses and develop best practices for winning more deals. With win loss analysis in place and the discovery sessions implemented, patterns emerged on Plex’s competitors, product, and prospects. They learned their strengths, weaknesses, and pitfalls to avoid and can now use their data to achieve their desired outcomes.
“When we analyze our win loss and conduct our discovery sessions, we can dissect how well we perform in the prospect’s eyes across a number of specific manufacturing capabilities.”
Actions: Build an integrated, comprehensive win-loss program, confirmed key differentiators, created steady tempo, and communicated with critical stakeholders
Dave works closely with his Primary Intelligence team to weave the win-loss program into Plex’s daily fabric. As the first course of action, he created a steady tempo by setting a cadence for interviews, a calendar for sharing with key players, and maintaining consistent program activity. Consistency is key to keeping the teams engaged. Dave said, “We set a calendar and set a cadence so that this is an ongoing drum beat throughout the year. And that gets your sales, development, and product management people used to getting consistent communication about the results.”
Next up, Dave sends an email summary of the data insights delivered from the win-loss program to the sales, marketing, executive, development, and product teams. Being transparent with key stakeholders is important for buy-in. He stays actively engaged with sales deals and this helps keep the win-loss program as an integral part of the sales cycle. He advises the sales reps, “Let’s figure out a strategy that accurately aligns Plex’s capabilities to your prospect’s needs.” Once the sales reps start seeing the benefits of win-loss analysis “they will start coming to you because they want to win more, they want to waste less time.”
Dave composes quarterly reports comparing the voice of the customer with the voice of the sales teams. He also works with executives to share the win-loss program findings such as market outlook, win-loss reasons, and competitive intelligence with the Board of Directors.
Plex consistently uses the win-loss program data to influence sales deals. The discovery sessions reveal competitive intelligence and trends in the marketplace. Dave said, “Every week, I will send a one paragraph overview and it goes to our executive team, sales, product management, and marketing. Development was then added to the distribution after its group leader came across one of the summary emails and said, ‘this is gold, can we get on that list?’”
Dave uses the competitive intelligence to create tools such as battle cards and playbooks. Battle cards are one-page documents that highlight competitive benchmarks such as win rates, win-loss reasons, and strengths versus weaknesses, while playbooks are more extensive documents that provide more detail. Dave shared, “At the end, I’ll add in or highlight ways to defend against certain things that a competitor may pepper the prospect with where we know we’re better than that particular competitor or that particular product. We have a responsibility to hold the line and clarify, protect, and defend our strengths.”
Dave realized triangulation of Primary Intelligence, internal research, and Plex’s CRM is the key to finding root causes and prove theories. Dave advises, “Use all the tools at your disposal along with Primary Intelligence because PI data is unbiased. It’s from a customer, and it’s done by a third party, so the customer or prospect is going to let it fly unfiltered in these interviews, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
“Sharing best sales practices is paramount. You want to win more, you want to be more efficient, you want to get your win rate up.”
Outcomes: Win rate up 72%, win rate vs. targeted competitors increased, evolved pricing structure
Plex benchmarks their outcomes on their target competitors’ win rate versus Plex’s win rate. They evolved their pricing structure to add flexibility to align to prospect needs. In addition, the win loss analysis program validated Plex’s product investment and cemented a partnership with the sales teams.
By teaming with Primary Intelligence, Plex can optimize sales deals, capitalize on competitive intelligence, and drive more revenue. With this collaborative effort, Plex has achieved or exceeded their desired outcomes:
- Improving their win rate by 72%
- Increasing their wins versus targeted competitors
- Having a greater understanding of their buyers’ needs
- Better alignment with their product and pricing
“We find out what were major and minor impacts in the customer’s eyes, but what’s critical is we then marry that through discovery sessions to our salespeople’s input.”