Throughout the sales process, you will inevitably win some customers and lose some prospects as people decide to buy, or not buy, your product. You can glean a lot of information from interviewing prospects who were part of the sales process. This is known as a win-loss analysis.
A win-loss analysis enables you to understand your market and the performance of your organization. When prospects evaluate your product, they encounter many parts of your organization and its processes. While the outcome of the sale is important, you can gain valuable knowledge from both wins and losses.
By talking to people who have evaluated your product, you can better understand how:
Win-loss interviews offer a powerful way to understand your strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of the market.
Win-loss analysis does not replace the need to understand the market problems you solve, but it helps your organization to understand how you are being presented to a potential buyer.
Have someone other than the salesperson involved conduct the win-loss interview. Customers may not want to hurt the salesperson’s feelings by speaking openly, and the collected data could suffer.
Win-loss interviews can help you uncover answers to the following questions and afford valuable information to your organization:
If possible, conduct a win-loss analysis for every attempted sale of your product. Use the following list when interviewing prospects (you may choose to add your own questions):
The following guidelines will help you to conduct successful win-loss interviews.
Interview the prospect within three months of the product evaluation to ensure that that person is still involved in the project and that they remember key information.
Many prospects will agree to speak with you. However, if they seem hesitant to do so, find some way to motivate them (for example, offer to donate to their favourite charity).
Similar to the guidelines for interviewing potential product users, limit your call to 30 minutes so that you do not monopolize the interviewee’s time.
Avoid dealing with any potential objections in an attempt to save the deal. It will put your interviewee in a defensive position, and this may negatively affect your data.
Your prospect will want to know why you are asking these questions. Explain that your purpose is to learn and improve.
If your interviewee shares something interesting, feel free to go off script. Ask more about the issue, and let them explain their thoughts. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Your goal is to learn how they perceived the process and your product. The more you learn, the better.
Share the results of your findings with your team. There are many people in your organization that can benefit from this information. For example, your team can:
A win-loss analysis is a powerful tool for looking back at your performance and learning how to improve.
Allison, R. (2010). The Eight Rules of Successful Win/Loss Analysis. Presentation slides. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/seminars/files/presentations/eight-rules-of-sucessful-win-loss/slides/
Duris, S. (2010). Win/Loss Analysis Checklist for Product Managers. Retrieved September 27, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/2/2/0403sd
On Product Management. (2009). What’s the deal with Win/Loss Analysis? Retrieved September 27, 2010, from http://onproductmanagement.net/2009/01/20/what’s-the-deal-with-winloss-analysis/