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    How to Improve Your Business With Win/Loss Analysis (Part 1 of 3)

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    What is more valuable to your sales team than understanding why you win, and why you don’t? Probably not much. But there’s more to win/loss analysis than just improving individual sales performance. In fact, effective win/loss analysis can help you improve almost every aspect of your business.

    The benefits of a comprehensive win/loss analysis include:

    • Improved win rates, for the obvious reason that when you know why you win, you can do more of it
    • Faster sales cycles, when you eliminate static and friction, and better align with your potential buyers decision-making
    • Clearer benchmarks, which can be shared across the organization
    • More accurate quotas and forecasts, as you understand more clearly how and when you win
    • Better investment decisions, because you know which investments and efforts are likely to yield the greatest return
    • Clear insight into where to improve strategy, process, methodology, skills, content, market approach, and any other factors that are impacting your win rates
    • Continuous improvement, because you establish a system of constantly looking for the ways you can make things better

    In order to significantly improve your sales results, your win/loss analysis process must go beyond the usual questions and dive into the impact that each aspect of your system has on winning and losing.

    This is a big job, and worth investing time into. To get you started, I have devoted the next three weeks on this blog to providing a framework you can use to improve every critical aspect of your sales system through your win/loss analysis.

    Today, we look at how to collect and structure your data to feed your win/loss analysis, and briefly overview the key aspects of your business to review through the lens of win/loss analysis.

    In the next two parts of this win/loss series, we’ll dive deeper into each of those key aspects and how an effective win/loss analysis can help you improve them.

    How to Get Good, Clean Data for Your Win/Loss Analysis

    Effective win/loss analysis begins with good data. In many cases, the only data we have is what the sales team voluntarily and subjectively adds into the system.

    This may include the salesperson’s guess at why they lost:

    • Too expensive
    • Chose a competitor
    • Couldn’t reach decision makers
    • Stayed with the status quo

    Or the salesperson’s best guess at why they won:

    • Me
    • Best product
    • Best price
    • Customer likes our company colors

    I’m poking fun a little bit with that last one, but the truth is that many sales organizations do not have a way to clearly understand the real reasons that they win or don't, because the data they’re collecting is based on a salesperson’s best guess.

    Effective win/loss analysis begins with solid data beyond the sales teams' best-guesses

    In order to perform effective win/loss analysis, you have to begin collecting data not only on what the salesperson thinks, but also on the actual factors involved in each sale. To do this effectively, you need a clear sales process and a way to track what is happening within the sales process for each potential sale.

    For instance, inside Membrain, salespeople are guided through the sales process step by step, milestone by milestone, and the system records that progress. This creates a wealth of data that can be analyzed to discover insights like:

    • Where in the process are prospects most likely to drop off?
    • Is one salesperson losing more prospects at that point than the benchmark? If so, is this a case of missing skills?
    • Which competitors are we most likely to lose against?
    • Are we weak or strong in certain industries?
    • Which stakeholders are most likely to put a stop to the process?

    Our “Win Rate Influencers” tool enables companies to see at a glance what factors are most impacting win and lose decisions, so attention can be focused on those areas. Having access to good quality data about every aspect of the sales process supercharges the win/loss analysis process.

    To Make the Most of Win/Loss Analysis, Assess Each of These Key Business Areas

    When we think of win/loss analysis, we most often think about salesperson performance and goal-setting. But the most effective win/loss analysis enables you to review every aspect of your sales and marketing system to identify areas of improvement.

    At minimum, use your win/loss analysis to review these key aspects of your business:

    • Sales Strategy & Territory Planning: Do you know your customers problems and are your offerings well-aligned? Which markets are you winning with consistently? Which ones are you not competitive in? What are your best channels–are some performing better than others? Why and why not?
    • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): Who are you winning with most often? Who do you almost always lose with? Is your ICP ready for an update? Are your salespeople qualifying correctly?
    • Sales Execution: Are your salespeople actually executing on your strategy? Is there a clear process and are they following it? Are there gaps where opportunities are falling through the cracks?
    • Sales Process: Where in the process are you losing the most deals? How can you lose them faster and cheaper? How can you avoid losing them? What steps in the process would help you win bigger and better deals? Are your salespeople actually following the process?
    • Sales Training: If your strategy and process are solid but salespeople are falling down on executing, where do you need to focus training to improve their ability to stick to the process?
    • Coaching: Do salespeople have skills and tools, but still not performing at their best? Are they getting quality coaching to maximize the outcome of your sales strategy?

    You can also use the win/loss analysis to examine your product, delivery, and customer success processes to see where you are winning and losing customers. In short, leave no aspect of your business untouched by the insights gained from win/loss.

    Over the next two weeks, we’ll dive deeper into HOW to examine the key factors above through the lens of win/loss analysis.

    George Brontén
    Published October 26, 2022
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM 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. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn