How agile leadership depends on customer voices
You may wonder if this is yet another rant about Win-Loss Analysis. Well, it is – sort of. To take a 50,000-foot view, there are two camps: one that believes Win-Loss Analysis is un-necessary and another that sees it as a vital component to a marketing and sales organization. The true believers are already doing it, and hopefully reaping the results; the nay-sayers are doing their best to succeed without it.
The key question is, for those companies that are inclined to engage in this introspective process, what is the prevailing mindset that propels them in this direction?
More important, what are the dominant leadership themes in terms of how the organization adapts to its competitive environment? What are the messages coming from the executive team? Are they slow to recognize shifts in the competitive environment and adapt – or are they adaptive and fluid in the way they respond?
The latter mindset implies agility. Dictionary.com defines agility as:
The power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness.
The ability to think and draw conclusions quickly; intellectual acuity.
OK, so what’s the connection between this agility-thinking to Win-Loss Analysis? Winning is about the speed, acuity and accuracy of gauging customer perceptions. If we want to be responsive and agile, we want to know how customers think and behave. What better way is there to learn about these insights than query customers who recently compared you against your competitive set – recently, on their way to making a real buying decision about something that matters to their company?
If you’re one of the organizations that understands and utilizes this tool, you appreciate the power of confirmation, and drawing contrasts with new learnings. For skeptics, confirmation serves as an impediment to learning more. Why expend effort and money to confirm what we know to be true?
The value of Win-Loss lies beyond confirmation; the value is in the subtle, incremental learnings that go beyond what is known, or even suspected. An appreciation for this nuance doubles the benefit in that so much that is useful to learn comes from the “wins”.
It’s true that what we don’t know can hurt us. What can hurt us even more is missing out on what we don’t know – when we think we do.