Are you doing your win loss analysis wrong?

By George Brontén - Feb 21, 2018

George Brontén

Win loss analysis is a critical tool for understanding and improving sales performance. Unfortunately, most sales organizations do not do them well, and miss out on most of the benefit. Are you making one of these four common win loss analysis mistakes?

One: Only analyzing losses

Many organizations get into the bad habit of only performing a win loss analysis when the deal is lost. This is often because we assume that if we win the deal it’s because we’re awesome, but if we lose it, then something must have “happened”–usually something that’s not our fault.

This is an unfortunate attitude, because analyzing wins honestly can reveal valuable information that leads to more wins. For instance, I know of an organization that, as part of their win analysis, requested feedback from the customer and found out that they almost lost the deal early in the process because their RFP was not professionally presented. They recovered from it during later meetings, but knowing that they almost lost it told them they needed to improve their RFP process in order to win more deals.

In another example, our team at Membrain checked in with Global Marine after they chose our product, and found out that they reason they bought it wasn’t primarily the product itself (although they are happy with the product!) but because of the way we sell. They said we truly understood their needs and aligned our process and our product to help them achieve their goals. It is just as helpful for us to know what we’re doing right, as it is to know what we’re doing wrong, and this feedback helps us continue to build on that success.

Two: Calling them “losses”

A lost deal does not equal a forever lost prospect. Be careful with the words you use.
George Brontén

When new users first work inside the Membrain platform, a common question is “how do I mark this prospect as a loss?” Inside Membrain, we don’t have a way to do that, because our philosophy is that a prospect is never lost. The deal may be lost, and the opportunity may be lost, but the prospect is still there.

This is an important mindset shift that helps salespeople and their managers remember that just because they didn’t win this deal doesn’t mean they’ve lost the customer. Customer needs change, they may be unhappy with the competitor they choose, or they may decide later that they want your product after all.

If you mark the prospect as “lost,” you may not plan to follow up and potentially win the opportunity at a later date. Inside Membrain, we mark sales projects as “archived” when they’re not won, and ensure that salespeople follow up at appropriate intervals.

Three: Only performing deal and pipeline analysis

Most sales teams will analyze why they win or lose at the deal level, and some take a look at where in the pipeline losses are occurring. It’s rarer for managers and salespeople to do individual meeting-level analysis, and that’s a shame.

A lot can happen during a sales meeting, both positive and negative. Take the time after each meeting to ask:

  • Where were the wins?
    • How did we align with the customer?
    • Did we keep momentum up?
    • Did we manage to eliminate competitors?
  • Where were the losses?
    • Did we gain trust?
    • Were we unable to agree on a next step?
    • Did we fail to discuss business value?

This analysis will ideally take place between the manager and the salesperson, and serves as an opportunity for the manager to reinforce proper sales process and methodology. It can also help to uncover information that can improve the success of future meetings.

For instance, the presence of a competitor may change the plays that are chosen for the next meeting. Loss of trust can be addressed with trust-building behaviors. Progress can be celebrated, and used to drive new progress in the next meeting.

Four: Not getting customer feedback

Win/loss analysis is often an exercise conducted in an echo chamber. Yes, there is a great deal you can learn from looking at your pipeline numbers and analyzing whether you always lose against the same competitor or always win in a certain industry (and you should certainly be looking for those things!)

But if you’re not getting customer feedback, you’re missing out on a ton of valuable information. It’s best to use a third party or, at least, someone other than the salesperson, to collect this information.

Win loss analysis is critical for optimizing your sales process. It should be paired with good data and data analysis through a platform like Membrain to ensure you’re getting accurate insights both on an aggregate basis and a deal basis. Membrain also allows you to execute on insights by building new playbooks, new resources, and new training directly into the salesperson’s workflow based on your win loss analysis.

I’d love to show you how. Contact us for a demonstration.

George Brontén
Published February 21, 2018, written by

George Brontén

George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the world's 1st Sales Effectiveness Platform that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.