Win/loss analysis should be a critical tool for improving sales force effectiveness, yet many organizations only analyze some of their wins and losses, and the focus is often more on the losses than the wins.
Here are 5 questions to ask to make your win/loss analysis more useful to your organization.
1. Where in the process do opportunities fall out of the pipeline?
Are you losing opportunities primarily early on, somewhere in the middle, or at the end? Once you have this information, you can drill down to understand what’s causing the leakage. Are your salespeople missing critical skills? Are they spending too much time bringing unqualified prospects too far along the sales pipeline? Is your value proposition too weak and undifferentiated? Do you have a gap in your sales process that is failing to carry potential customers through to the end?
Once you understand where you’re losing opportunities and what’s causing it, you can feed that information back into the process to improve it and give your salespeople the tools and training they need to close the gaps.
2. Do you perform better or worse based on customer industry sector, size, or other factors?
If your salespeople consistently win in a particular industry, you might instruct them to increase their outreach in that industry. Finding out why you perform so well in that industry can also help you to position your products and services better within that market and/or to align more comfortably with additional markets.
On the other hand, if you’re performing poorly in a particular sector, you can either make the decision to step away from it and focus your resources on more profitable opportunities, or you can find out why and adjust your sales process to better serve the faltering industry.
3. Do you perform badly against specific competitors?
When a particular competitor comes onto the scene with a prospect, does that almost automatically spell doom for the sale?
If a particular competitor is always bad news, try to get to the bottom of why that is. Is their product better or are they simply differentiating themselves more effectively? Is there something your product does better but that your salespeople aren’t effectively communicating? Once you know why, you can develop processes, techniques, and content to combat that particular competitor and train your salespeople to use it when they know they’re in that position.
4. After how long is an opportunity effectively “dead”?
Ten seconds. That’s how long a boxer can be “down” inside the ring in a traditional match before the round is officially over and the boxer declared KO.
In sales, there’s rarely such a clear definition of KO for a deal, yet this information should be readily available in an effective win/loss analysis. If you look at all of your won and lost opportunities and the sales cycle length for all of the wins, you will discover a length of time after which you rarely or never win a deal. This requires a clear definition of when your sales process starts and ends, of course. This is a problem in itself, which I have written about previously.
By looking at this information, you can help your salespeople let go of “dead” deals and refocus attention on new opportunities.
What ACTUALLY went wrong, OR RIGHT?
This last question is for the customer and, in fact, is one of only several you should be asking won and lost customers consistently. Your salespeople can only analyze what happened on their end. They won’t automatically know if the customer went elsewhere because the other salesperson was friendlier, because their boss suddenly put a clamp on the investment, or because they had already decided on a competitor before you began and were only using your proposals as leverage.
But a third party survey can often uncover this and much more. It can also be used to get to the bottom of “why” for the previous four questions. To do this effectively, ask the first four questions of your data, then take the answers you get from the data and use them to customize “why” questions for your customers and lost prospects. Also read the previous blog post series on win-loss by guest blogger Cian Mcloughlin and reach out to him if you need advice.
Then take the information you learn, and feed it back into your process and training. In this way, win/loss analysis becomes a tool of continuous improvement for your entire organization.
Obviously, in order to perform this type of win/loss analysis, you need clean data and good analytics tools. Please check Membrain’s Sales Analytics+ offering, I think you’ll love it!
If you know you need new tools in order to get the data you need, or if you’re a consultant who wants better analysis tools for your clients, I’d love to show you what Membrain can do. Schedule a call today.