No entrepreneur wants to lose, but few startups leverage a
win/loss strategy, which can improve sales performance. It’s not a complicated
matter; using data and customer surveys, your wins (sales) and losses (lost
sales, closed accounts, etc.) are analyzed to gain competitive intelligence.
The result is an advantage that should help you produce more wins, and thus
grow your business in terms of your profitability and reputation (satisfied
customers are the best form of advertising).
“Win/loss analysis teaches you how to win more by studying past sales deals,” writes Primary Intelligence, a leading analytical provider. “It helps you detect problems, understand the market, and stay close to the competition by listening to the best intelligence sources: your buyers and sellers.”
Choose Which Accounts to Analyze
So, now that you know what a win/loss strategy is, you can begin implementing it. The first step is choosing which accounts to analyze. If you’re outsourcing your win/loss strategy, you’ll have help choosing the best accounts. When it comes to analytics, it’s usually best to outsource the job unless you’ve hired analytical staff trained to record, interview, and interpret the data.
In general, you’ll choose your highest earning accounts as your win references. These are the accounts that have earned you the most money and who frequently take advantage of new products and services you’re offering. If you’re wondering how many accounts to choose, this is dependent on the size of your business; however, keep in mind, that the more accounts you analyze, the more intelligent your results will be.
Your loss references should be a mix of closed accounts, disappointed customers, and lost sales. Keep it varied to understand all of the different reasons a person may say no to your business. This is going to give you the data you need to train your sales people to form high-quality rebuttals and close difficult sales.
How to Conduct the Analysis
A win/loss analysis is conducted through interviews. An interviewer will call or visit your clients and ask them a series of questions to gain insight into their habits. The interviewer will record their responses, including their reasons for buying or not buying as it may be. In general, this analysis should be conducted rather frequently (as many as four times a year, if possible). This is going to keep your information fresh, dynamic, and give you an ongoing win-rate percentage.
Your sales people will also be interviewed. These interviews are designed to put your sales people at ease and encourage them to be candid. Third-party analytical companies often have better, more candid results from employee interviews because the interviewee is more likely to be frank with someone outside the company. The results from the employee interviews can show you why some sales people win over others. Once you have the information, you can train your sales staff in new methodology.
Why Win/Loss Strategies Work
Win/loss strategies work for a number of reasons. By conducting them often, you’re providing your business with key insight into the buying process. You can tweak your sales pitch, head into a new quarter, conduct the win/loss analysis again, and then see if your percentage of wins has increased due to the changes you implemented.
It also shows you where miscommunications are occurring, and it gives you clear insight into the functioning of your sales team. If your sales team isn’t working together, these interviews are going to highlight the issues. Overall, the main benefit is that win/loss strategies are designed to help you increase your sales by highlighting where changes should be made.
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