How to Write a Meaningful Win Loss Analysis

 

How to Write a Meaningful Win Loss Analysis

 

You win some and you lose some. Uncovering why certain deals are won or lost to the competition or to “no decision” at all provides you with valuable insights into how your brand and competitors are perceived in the marketplace. It empowers you to take steps to get to the bottom of what matters most to your prospective buyers, and adjust your strategy to provide a better experience and better serve their needs.

A win/loss analysis involves the gathering, analyzing and sharing of post decision feedback from new customers and lost prospective customers. This feedback verifies your competitive advantage, disadvantage, lessons learned and steps that can be implemented to better your organization, in turn driving growth.

 

How to do a win/loss analysis the right way

To get started, you have to calculate your current win/loss ratio and your win rate.
Your win/loss ratio equals the # of won opportunities divided by the # of lost opportunities.

Your win rate equals the # of won opportunities divided by the # of total opportunities

Win-Rate

That part is easy enough , however depending on your system of record, and the team using it, you may or may not have all the data you need right at your finger-tips. Often times systems were set up with the fields you need; for example, Incumbent, Competitor, Lost reason and Use Case (Win Reason). However, there are a plethora of reasons as to why the information you need to fully run a win loss analysis might be incomplete or inaccurate. So it is best to start with the expectation that you will have to marry both quantitative data from a CRM system, interviews with your sellers and interviews with prospective customers.

When interviewing sellers, be sure to log all competitors that were contenders, which competitor ultimately won the business and why. The results will help prioritize the actions you take once the analysis is complete.

 

Interviewing lost customers.

We frame the process, criteria and goals as follows.

Process:
The process can change depending on whether the interviews are handled in house or through a third party, over the phone or in person and how the results will be shared with the relevant stakeholders from your sales, marketing and product teams.

Your company may oversee the interview or you may choose a 3rd party company to execute the interviews (some people feel the latter option yields the most unbiased feedback). If you do the interviews in house, determine who will conduct the interview and fully prep them (be sure the seller involved in a particular sale is not the one leading the interview). This individual should review sales notes in your CRM regarding the account, deal name, potential deal size and the win/loss reason.

Criteria:

Involve your sales team to determine which customers and prospects to include in the interviews (interview an equal number of won and lost opportunities ideally within 3 months of their decision).

Check with your sales team regarding the proper contacts at each company
Inform interviewees in advance the topics you plan to cover.

All stakeholders should collaborate on interview questions that cover the entire sales cycle (try to limit questions to 10 or less). Once the questions are finalized, prepare a questionnaire and let your potential buyer know the topics you plan to discuss.

Sample questions include:

  • What drove your interest in {Company}’s solution?
  • Where did the initiative come from?
  • How well did your {company} address their business needs?
  • Which companies were being considered?
  • What criteria did you use to evaluate the solutions under consideration? Decision factors
  • How well did the seller manage the sales cycle?
  • How did your product or service stack up to the competition (did they feel any features were missing)?
  • Did any external influences factor into their decision?

Goals:
Goals should be clear and concise and shared with the stakeholders. For example, increasing sales win rates to grow revenue, better understanding your target market and their buyer behavior, improving your messaging and positioning, uncovering gaps and weaknesses, and gaining ideas for your product roadmap.

Next Collect Data

If conducting the interviews internally, be sure the environment completely objective in order to obtain unbiased results. Be respectful of the interviewee’s time by keeping interviews brief (30 minutes or less). Recap the purpose of the interview and provide a high-level overview of the areas that will be discussed before diving into the list of questions. The idea here is to learn as much as possible about their perceptions and experience during the evaluation and decision process.

 

Interpret and visualize the results

  • win/loss ratio
  • win/loss rates against competitor
  • loss reasons

Through your CRM or ERP analysis, combined with your survey results you will start to see a trend on the main reasons your solution may fall short or win consistently. It is best to present this information in easy to read charts so other disciplines can quickly understand the implications and prioritize efforts accordingly.

For example, below is a standard win loss dashboard.

Charts-Win-Loss

 

That said, in a hyper-competitive market like outlined in the image above it is important to go one step deeper and visualize the loss reasons.

Competition-in-Deals

And finally, it is equally important to document the win reasons.

 

Share and act on your findings

For a win/loss analysis to be effective, you must act on the findings. Consolidate the interview results, share with the team and create action items to enable your team to better navigate future deals and positioning.

Conducting win/loss analysis on a quarterly basis enables you to stay current with your prospective customer’s requirements and process so you can adjust sales, messaging, go to market and product development strategies. The end result? A higher close rate and increased revenue.

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