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Coming Prepared: The Benefits of Using a Formal Win / Loss Interview Guide

When delivering a sales presentation to prospects, how frequently is “winging it” the strategy you use? Probably not very often. So, if you strategize and formalize your sales presentation, shouldn’t you do the same when it comes time to understand your prospect’s decision making?

Anova’s research has uncovered that only 25% of salespeople use a formal, written-down win / loss interview guide when conducting post-decision debriefs. In other words, 75% of sales debriefs are impromptu and do not adequately allow for obtaining complete and constructive feedback. Just as you would prepare for a presentation, it is important to strategize before the debrief so you can obtain the best feedback possible to learn and benefit from. Here are some of the benefits you will gain from having a formalized win / loss debrief guide:

  • Increase Your Close Rate: Anova’s research has shown sales personnel who take the time to organize and plan their questions have a 15% higher close rate than those who do not use a planned interview guide.
  • Maximize Feedback and the Keep Conversation Focused: If you use a formal win / loss interview guide, you will come across as more professional. Interviewees will take the survey more seriously because they will understand that you took the time to prepare something useful and thorough, and will want to return to you useful and thorough feedback in-kind. You will feel confident in asking the right questions and probing for more reasoning if those points are written on the page in front of you. Additionally, the guide will be your map to stay focused on the topics you want to cover and hit on the key takeaways you want to know more about.
  • Hand-written Notes: Printing out the win / loss template and taking hand-written notes is a crucial part of a thorough and complete feedback session. When you take hand-written notes, you do not distract the interviewee (or yourself) with the sound of typing. You are also not tempted by other distractions, like email or social media. Moreover, if your notes are organized, you can see the path that your prospect took to come to their decision and can use it in the future if you interact with the prospect and/or company again.
  • A Tool For Life: Once you have a win / loss interview guide that you are comfortable with and that gets you the responses you are looking for, you can use it for the rest of your career. Even if you change companies, or even change industries, you simply need to adjust the existing win / loss survey for the new products and/or services. Additionally, you can help new salespeople get ahead of the game by sharing with them past interviews so they can avoid common mistakes.

Now that you know the benefits of formally constructing a win / loss interview guide, you know what key ingredients to add to your survey to truly get the most out of your post-decision discussion!