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    How to Supercharge Your Sales Strategy with Effective Win/Loss Analysis (2/3)

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    Your win/loss analysis can be a secret weapon for improving every aspect of your business. From sales strategy to individual sales skills, this three-part series gives you the framework for improving the way your sales system performs each year, using your win/loss analysis.

    Last week, I wrote about how to get good, clean data for analysis, and provided an overview of the areas of your sales system to review through win/loss analysis. This week, we take a deeper dive into how you can improve your overall sales strategy, including your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

    How to Assess Your Sales Strategy through Win/Loss Analysis

    Your sales strategy is the high-level plan for HOW you will go about achieving your sales goals. It defines:

    • To whom you sell (your ICP)
    • What you sell
    • How you sell
    • Where
    • With what positioning and messaging
    • The tangible profit, revenue, and other goals your sales system should achieve

    If your sales strategy is off-key, nothing else matters. If your sales strategy is on target, everything else gets easier.

    If your sales strategy is on target, everything else gets easier.

    Logically, then, this is the most important and first place to focus your win/loss analysis efforts.

    Questions to Ask About Your Sales Strategy During Win/Loss Analysis

    In order to be effective with your sales strategy, you need to know how and why and when you win. You probably already know a good bit about this, such as:

    • Do you go after lots of small deals or a small number of large deals?
    • Are you proactive (outbound) or reactive (inbound) in your sales approach?
    • Do you sell standardized products, or tailored offerings?
    • Are you a local provider, or a global player?

    These are elements of your unique “how you sell” formula. You probably don’t operate at an extreme end for any of these questions, and you may do a little of each. It’s worth looking at your win/loss data to ask yourself whether it would be valuable to shift your focus one direction or the other on any of these measures.

    To do this, look at your data and ask the following questions:

    • Do we win more often with small deals or large?
      Which are more profitable?
    • Do we win more often in some territories than others?
    • Do we win more often in some industries than others?
    • Do we spend more time on deals we win, or deals we don’t?
    • When we don’t win, do clients chose competitors or the status quo?
    • When we don’t win, can/should we disqualify earlier?
    • When we don’t win, do we engage enough stakeholders?

    The answers to these questions can then spawn additional questions about your strategy. For instance, if you win more often with small deals, is that where you want to be? If it is, then you can focus your strategy on going after more of them. But if you’d rather be going after bigger deals, then you can apply the win/loss information to other aspects, such as evaluating your ICP or your sales execution, to see why you’re not winning with the customers you actually want to be winning with.

    Likewise, you can analyze whether you win in certain parts of your geographical reach, and lose in others. Then you can adjust your strategy to accommodate the buyers who actually want what you have. You can apply the same logic to any aspect of your sales strategy that you want to improve.

    How to Assess Your Ideal Customer Profile Through Win/Loss Analysis

    Your Ideal Customer Profile(s) is a key tool in your sales strategy, and impacts everything from your branding, positioning, and messaging, to targeting, prospecting, and qualifying. If your ICP is not aligned with who you can actually win with and your strategy for approaching them, you will spend a lot of resources going after the wrong targets with the wrong messaging. If your ICP is on target, on the other hand, you make everyone’s job easier and deliver greater value to your customers.

    During the Win/Loss analysis process, take a look at the profiles of the customers you actually win with, against those you lose with. Are you actually winning with those who closely match your existing ICP?

    If not, is that because you’re targeting badly? Or is it because you misunderstood who your ICP is?

    If you’re winning a lot of deals with a particular type of client, and they are good, profitable clients, then it may be time to rewrite your ICP to accommodate what is actually your ideal customer rather than who you thought it would be.

    Give your team plenty of time to assess, evaluate, and discuss these questions through the lens of your win/loss analysis. It can help to have a tool like Membrain’s Win Rate Influencers to help you see things you might otherwise miss that are impacting your win rates.

    Taking your time to clearly align your ICP and overall sales strategy through the lens of your win/loss analysis will pay off in the coming year. To achieve the best results, next, drill down to the sales process and team skills level to ensure you’re executing on your sales strategy. We’ll get into that in next week’s installment.

    George Brontén
    Published November 2, 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