5 Ways CEO’s can Learn from Losses


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Depending upon the outcome, a big deal can make the year for any CEO. Celebrate wins of course. But you also need to celebrate failure. Quickly learn from the losses and no decisions. Dive deep into the deals to build on the mistakes. This will strengthen your pipeline as the sales team reaches the mid-year point.

Win Loss Guide

As CEO, you should hold Win/Loss Reviews with your Sales Leaders. To facilitate this discussion download the Win/Loss Guide. It will provide the following benefits:

  • Uncover problems early and often.
  • Celebrate the failures and immediately implement learnings into future campaigns.
  • Solidify the sales pipeline going into the second half of the year.


Five Steps of the Win/Loss Review

A Win/Loss Review is more than a conversation between CEO and Sales Leader. It is a comprehensive five step process that leads to positive action. It fosters transparency and encourages calculated risk within your sales force. When done right it demonstrates a balance between questioning performance while celebrating failure.

1. Conduct internal data review. Start with the data you have on hand. Have the Sales Rep extract the details of the deal from the CRM. Review the activity history, the deal size, and contact details. Identify the decision makers. Review the touch points that lead to the final decision.

2. Interview the Buyer. Download the Win/Loss Guide and use it to guide the discussion. If your selling team is working at the C-Level, get directly involved. Unvarnished, direct feedback from the Buyer is critical. You want to know why the deal was lost. Learn to probe for ways to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

3. Post-mortem. With the data and interview findings, meet with your sales team. Use the Win/Loss Guide to direct this conversation. Take them to task, but don’t run them over. The objective is to learn not punish. You need to hear their perspective to arrive at a balanced conclusion.

4. Summarize findings. Synthesize the information collected during the first three steps. Have the Sales Leader connect the dots and suggest a plan of action. Highlight trends and itemize the major lessons learned.

5. Take Action. The data collected is worthless until it is acted upon. Decisive action is critical to the success of your organization. Move forward on two levels.

Quick fix. If there is an opportunity to save a deal you reviewed, do it. If there are ways to improve your close rate this quarter, implement them. Take what you’ve learned and put it into action immediately.
Long term strategy. Agree to a regular Win/Loss review cadence with your Sales Leader. Implement a plan that will provide a steady stream of learning. This agile approach is critical to future success. Make it a part of your sales culture.

In both the near and long term, hold Win/Loss Reviews with your sales leaders. Facilitate these discussions with your Sales Leader. Download the Win/Loss Guide to get started.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Bernoske
Dan Bernoske serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. With 13 years of experience, Dan has delivered results in business development, corporate strategy, product management, marketing, and process improvement.


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