Win-loss reports can provide remarkably valuable insights into the mind of your prospects and the ways in which they make their buying decisions.
- When you loose, it was because your price was too high or your product lacked key functionality.
- When you win, it was all down to the strategy and skills of the salesperson.
Either way, you’ll never learn what the prospect really thought, because prospects lie to sales people – they can’t help it – or they reflect on their post-purchase priorities rather than the things that influenced their decision if, what and how to buy.
It’s also likely that the most attention is paid to the closing stages of the sales process – rather than the often more illuminating questions of what triggered the prospect’s search for a solution in the first place, what they thought they were looking for, and who they turned to for advice.
It’s nigh-on inevitable that nothing new or of any value will be learned from a sales-led win/loss exercise. That’s not to say, of course, that the exercise of understanding your prospect’s buying process isn’t critical – just that there has to be a better way.
First, conduct the win-loss analysis as a structured conversation – not a questionnaire – that encourages the prospect to recall what caused them to start searching for solutions in the first place.
Second, seek to understand how the prospect approached the problem solving process – who was involved, and who did they turn to for advice?
Third, having identified potential solutions, how did they go about getting their organisation to accept the need for change – or if the deal ended in “no decision”, what were the barriers to change?
Finally, think seriously about having an external facilitator conduct the conversations. It prevents the prospect’s answers being filtered by any preconceptions or vested interests, and almost always results in more truthful – and therefore useful – answers.