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Implementing Win Loss Analysis

Step One

The first decision is whether it will be designed and implemented internally or using an independent third party

The first decision you must make when preparing to introduce a win loss analysis program is whether it will be designed and implemented internally or using an independent third party like Anova Consulting Group. These are the questions that require consideration:

  • What is the best way to obtain candid, unbiased and independent sales win loss related information?
  • What is the best way to ensure that respondents feel comfortable with the process?
  • Is there enough in-house expertise to ensure that the win loss analysis program will be properly executed and its results monitored and measured?
  • Finally, is there the capacity in-house to aggregate, analyze and report the win loss data that is generated so it becomes actionable?

Although some organizations manage their win loss research program efforts internally, such programs are more effective when they are externally administered by a specialized service provider like Anova Consulting Group, which employs market research professionals with finely honed interviewing skills.


STEP two

The second decision is determining the scope of new business situations that will be analyzed

Another determination you must make when designing a win loss sales research project is the scope of new business situations that will be analyzed. Depending on the volumes involved, it may or may not be necessary or practical to conduct an extensive debrief for every sales situation. Many companies, for instance, focus their win loss projects on their largest and most profitable clients and accounts. They also often decide to focus on certain products or services. Finally, they sometimes prioritize certain market segments or geographies.


STEP three

The next crucial step is ensuring you have executive level buy-in and support

Once a decision has been made to implement a win loss project, the next crucial step is ensuring you have executive level buy-in and support. Without the endorsement and active sponsorship of your senior management, your win loss analysis program is likely to produce sub-optimal results. In building executive support, advocates of such a project must clearly and concisely present a compelling cost-benefit analysis – one that emphasizes that such programs can have a decidedly positive impact on virtually every aspect of the product/service development and delivery process. A successfully implemented sales win loss analysis program can cross-fertilize and strengthen linkages between a company’s sales, marketing, product/service development, technology, client/customer service, operations and pricing functions. Consequently, the person or people who oversee these aspects of your company’s business must understand the program’s purpose, recognize the level of mutual commitment that is required, and devote the time, resources and energy necessary to make it successful.

As part of the organizational engagement process, one very important message that needs to be delivered is that your sales win loss project’s primary purpose is to serve as a learning tool – one that is focused on driving continuous improvement. Some companies use win loss techniques to evaluate and promote performance improvements within their sales teams. However, in such situations, it is important to ensure that the win loss program is not positioned or perceived as a “witch hunt” or a mechanism for retribution, but rather as a means to enhancing productivity across key product delivery and servicing functions.


STEP four

The final step is deciding on the types of questions you would like to ask former prospects

Line of Inquiry: Finally, if you wish to implement a sales win loss project, you must decide the types of questions you would like to ask former prospects. Most win loss analysis methodologies are designed to not only uncover why a company won or lost business in a particular sales situation, but also to shed light on the competitive dynamics that defined the sales process. Common questions include:

  • How did our sales team perform relative to others?
  • What actions on the part of our team and people made positive or negative impressions?
  • How did the content and quality of our presentation and sales materials compare?
  • How well did we differentiate our products and services from the competition?
  • To what degree did we emphasize messages and behaviors relating to our service ethic that resonated with the decision makers and influencers?
  • Did we fully and adequately address issues and concerns raised by the prospective client during the needs analysis portion of the sales process?
  • Were we too aggressive or not aggressive enough in supporting the prospect’s decision-making process?
  • Finally, what would we have to do differently in the future to win this business if we had another shot at it?

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Once a decision has been made to implement a win loss project, the next crucial step is ensuring you have executive level buy-in and support.