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Using Win / Loss to Accomplish Short and Long Term Goals

A few months ago, we wrote about setting goals for the new year. A few months later it’s time to check-in. How are those resolutions coming? Have you, and your organization, been making progress?

April, and more specifically the end of Q1, is a great time to check-in on those goals. When we think about goal-setting, our objectives typically fall into one of two categories: short-term and long-term. Similarly, win / loss has both short and long-term benefits.

Think about how a traditional win / loss program is constructed. There are the individual interviews that happen on an ongoing basis, and then aggregate reporting that is done to synthesize insights and discover trends.

Those individual transcripts are a gold mine for individual people on your team. The salesperson can read the voice of the prospect’s commentary about their performance and how well that new sales tactic they tried was received. The pricing specialist can learn if their fee structure was perceived to be transparent or not. The product manager will see a side-by-side comparison of their solution to the competition. There is an incredible amount to be learned from a single debrief, but it is just one data point.

That is where the importance of aggregate findings comes in. Those learnings from the individual transcript are helpful for understanding what happened in a single deal, but need to be looked at in the context of the full data set. That new sales tactic that was tried? It may have worked in one situation, but fell short in the other three afterwards. The fee structure may be transparent to a procurement specialist who is well trained in handling pricing models, but is too complex for business-line personnel to understand. And the product comparison? Products are ever-changing, and a perceived competitive gap in one deal may be narrowed by the next. In order to fully understand how all of the aspects of your offering rate, you need a broader sample set with much more deal flow. Then, looking at the aggregate results can help decision makers pinpoint where the actual areas for improvement are.

In many public companies right now, sales teams are reviewing the last deals that counted towards their early-year quotas, and finance and accounting teams are getting ready for the scramble of calculating quarterly earnings. They are focused hitting their short-term goals. Meanwhile in the board rooms upstairs, executives are monitoring those short-term numbers, while also trying to measure the successes of the first three months against their long-term plans. Take a similar approach to your win / loss program. Keep focused on the individual deals and their learnings, but don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees, and remember the power of the broader program-wide results.