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Establishing a Win Loss Program

Stu Perlmeter Leave a Comment

A checklist for companies considering a Win Loss Analysis Program

Many companies are thinking strategically about their “Win-rate” and how to improve it. Once a concern only for Enterprise companies, now SMB firms are exploring the benefits of a Win Loss Analysis program.

Here’s a 50,000-foot view of what you need to know:

Get focused. As with anything of value, a successful program requires a focused effort. Of course, you have to start with a statement of your business goals, in very specific, measureable terms. The SMART rules definitely apply. Once goals are spelled out, here’s your checklist:

Someone has to own it. The project owner can be in any one of several functional areas: sales, marketing, customer experience, product management, pricing – the list goes on. But someone has to play that galvanizing role, and that someone must be a change agent.

Change agent mentality. The mindset of the project owner and the team members must be one of advocating change in the organization. It’s not about satisfying curiosity about a deal that’s lost or won; it’s about learning success patterns that can be repeated in the future.

Formality. There has to be some structure and hopefully broad participation. A task force that represents the key functional areas that have a stake in business development should be on the team.

Managing data vs. insight. Some Win Loss efforts look like quantitative surveys, where the customer rates every aspect of your value proposition and sales performance, along with that of your competitors on the usual scales used in surveys. Other efforts key on insights, with minimal quantitative measures. You have to decide what’s important.

Collecting customer insights and data. You’ve probably read or already know that the best method of gathering the Voice-of-the-Customer to support Win Loss is to bring in a skilled third party. Humans are funny creatures; they don’t like to give or take rejection. Breaking through that to get to the game-changing insights you want requires more than skill and advanced methodology; it requires that the interviewer not be one of you. That points to a professional service provider that’s done a lot of this kind of work.

Reporting. Every stakeholder group in the company requires different levels of reporting. Done properly, Win Loss has something to offer every functional group. The question is how to aggregate and banner the learnings, so everyone gets what they need, without having to read through huge amounts of detail.

It’s worth it. Companies that have leadership that truly cares about winning and improving performance understand that you can’t achieve those goals without critical introspection. What better source of customer inputs can you find than those that came from buyers who engaged you, or a competitor to address a business need? It’s the perfect laboratory for market-driven change.

About the Author

Stu Perlmeter

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Stu brings 30 years of marketing and research experience to 1st Resource, which he founded in 1996. Stu’s primary expertise is in understanding the market insights that tie to success formulas for companies seeking to grow their business in strategic ways.

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