Win/Loss Analysis is critical in helping us improve our results. But there are a couple of perspectives in win/loss analysis I think are important in driving performance improvement and improving our ability to win — hopefully ultimately just doing win reviews 😉
There are two different perspectives of wins and losses that I’d like to discuss. One is the fairly typical win/loss review that should be conducted with every major opportunity–particularly for every major loss. The other is a broader view of wins and losses–looking at overall trends and patterns across the broad number of opportunities.
Win/Loss Deal Reviews:
After each major win and especially after losses, we want to take some time to analyze the opportunity to understand why we won or lost. We want to review our strategies, and how we executed the sales process: What did we do well? Where were we off target? What do we need to change? We want to consider:
- Was this the right opportunity for us to compete in? Was in in our sweet spot?
- Were we working with the right people in the customer? Were we covering everyone appropriately, did we understand their decision making process?
- Did we understand what they were trying to achieve? Did we understand their goals? Did we understand the business impacts of the problems they were trying to address?
- Was our solution responsive to their needs? Did the customer tell us that? Did the customer believe we really could solve their problem? Where did the customer feel we were superior? Where did the customer feel we were inferior or deficient?
- Did we understand the alternatives the customer was considering? Did we reposition ourselves effectively? Did the competition do a better job?
- Did we have a differentiated and superior value proposition that was meaningful to the customer and that they bought? Were we deficient in any areas? Were we differentiated from the customer’s point of view?
- Did we have a justified solution that met or exceeded all the customer objectives, and did we demonstrate the business case to the customer’s satisfaction?
- What would we have changed about our approach? What might we have done better?
Ideally, particuarly for losses, we will interview the customer to understand the decision they made, and what we might have done differently.
These reviews are great learning vehicles–for sales people individually and for our organization. We learn how we can continue to improve–both in how we sell, but our products and services.
This is a broader review of wins and losses. It doesn’t focus on specific deals but looks to identify systemic performance issues. It allows us to look at organizational issues and trends, rather than the specifics of a deal. It enables us to better assess our overall effectiveness. I like to look at wins and losses over a number of years to see if there are any trends that we can learn from. For example:
- What’s our win rate overall? Is it consistent, is it improving?
- What’s our average transaction value–both for all the deals we compete in, but also for the deals we win? Can we see trends, is there a difference between the average value for the deals we win and the deals we compete for? Are we good at winning the small deals but we can’t win the big deals? A similar analysis around sales cycle time is good.
- Do we tend to win more with certain types of customers or certain types of solutions or products?
- Do certain teams seem to win more than others?
- What’s the volume of deals that we compete for look like? Is it appropriate to support our goals, do we see any trends?
- Are there certain competitors that we have greater difficulty in competing with?
- Do we see trends in the reasons for winning or losing?
- Do we have difficulties in certain parts of the sales process?
- Are there certain things we do in the sales process that cause us to win more often? Are there things we are skipping that cause us to lose more often?
Understanding and Improving:
Win/Loss review have to focus on learning and improvement. We can gain a lot–as individual, teams, and organizations to learn where we do well, where we do poorly, and how we can improve. Understanding at both a micro–deal by deal, and macro level—overall patterns and trends, can give us great insight and improve our ability to compete.
Too many organizations conduct win loss reviews for the wrong reason—to assign blame. We learn nothing from this. We lose the chance to improve. Focusing on blame is a waste of time and resource.
Are you looking at your wins and losses from both a micro and macro point of view?