Happy Thanksgiving: 7 Win Loss Tips to Improve the Success of Your Program

Adopt these 7 Win Loss Tips to Improve Sales and Customer Receptivity to Win Loss interviews.

  1. Don’t Let Sales Conduct Your Company’s Win/Loss Interviews

Research from the book, “From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call,” indicates:

  • Salesperson’s assessment is totally wrong — 32%
  • Salesperson just has part of the story — 28%
  • Salesperson’s understanding is complete/accurate — 40%

So, 60% of the time Sales doesn’t quite get it right. Don’t put the onus on them to conduct Win/Loss interviews. Don’t put them in this awkward position. Their customers don’t want to tell them the bad news. It’s just human nature. They will tell others in your company, and even more to a third party.

win loss tips

  1. Dealing with Pushback from Sales

Many companies tell me that they feel pushback from Sales, as we develop their Win/Loss program. Sales thinks that Win/Loss is totally an assessment of them. That’s only partially true, since it isn’t only Sales that you’re assessing. Ideally, it’s a 360 evaluation of your company which includes marketing in all its forms, your products and/or services, customer service, installation, maintenance, training, operations, and strategy.

So how do you get Sales to believe that they’re not the sole target? Involve them in creating the questions you’ll ask their customers. What would they like to know that they don’t? Once you’ve queried the other parts of the company mentioned above, share the questions you’ll be asking with Sales. They’ll see that only 15 – 20% apply to them.

  1. Involve Sales in the Win/Loss process

Before you call customers—whether a win or loss—contact Sales. Find out if there is anything else you should know, and that you’re reaching out to the best contacts at the company. Make sure that the timing of your call still works. Sometimes we learn that there was an issue with a sale, or that Sales is selling another solution, so the timing for our call is bad. I have had sales people tell me that the targeted company is no longer in business.

  1. Let Sales Know the Outcome of Win/Loss Calls

At the end of each call, I let Sales know how it went, and most importantly what action I recommend as a result of the conversation. One criticism of Win/Loss is the delay between the individual interviews, and receiving the final Win/Loss analysis report. This is one way to be immediately responsive. They don’t need the interview summary right away, but they do need the action items and why.

  1. Call Lost Business Sooner

People remember the facts about why they chose to do business with you when you WIN it. You can call them a little later, up to 6 months after the buying decision. Whereas, when they choose a competitor, they forget the facts about why they didn’t choose your company more quickly. After all, they are working with your competitor. It’s more important to get to lost business sooner, preferable within 3 – 4 months.

  1. Different Questions for Wins and Losses

Consider some different questions for losses. The issues aren’t the same as for Wins. You want to know why they didn’t select your company; why they selected another company; how happy they are with their selection; and if there is any way you could have won their business. Those are different questions.

You can ask more detailed questions about sales professionalism when you won than when you lost, unless it’s apparent that SALES is the reason you lost. It usually isn’t, but be open to this since sometimes it is!

  1. Be Sensitive to the Industry You’re Interviewing

How will they be most comfortable conversing with you? Some Win/Loss interviewers tell me they have the customer call in to a certain number. My people in construction would never agree to this. I need to instigate the call to their phone. They don’t do SKYPE or any social media like Hangouts or What’s App. Bottom line is you want them to be comfortable with how you connect.

Adopting these 7 win loss tips has helped my clients facilitate this squishy process.

Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis book; Amazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

Join our mailing list and get our cheat sheets on “How to Build a World Class Win/Loss Program.”

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Improve Your CI Skill: Read Competitive Intelligence Rescue

Learn how to diagnose what needs to be fixed in your competitive intelligence program by reading Competitive Intelligence Rescue. Carolyn Vella and John McGonagle walk us through their experiences rescuing 7 companies in the case study format.

Competitive Intelligence Rescue

Case Studies Vary by Industry and Complexity

  • DIY (Do it yourself) competitive intelligence
  • Adding primary research capabilities
  • Defending against your competitors’ intelligence activities
  • Creating and staffing a new CI team

The case studies include conversations with the various stakeholders with Carolyn and John, as they go through the CI rescue process. As a reader, you can crawl into this process.

Competitive Intelligence Rescue: Diagnostic Quiz

Carolyn and John have developed some first and second level diagnostic questions aka “diagnostic quiz” to pinpoint the issues that need to be fixed. They are so methodical from their many years as CI professionals. If you follow this diagnostic quiz process, you won’t miss issues, such as CI training and ethics/legal that are often blind spots in CI program development and assessment. They also account for a company’s culture and politics in the diagnostic quiz through the process of addressing the issues. They check back with each client a year or so later to measure progress and analyze results.

Competitive Intelligence Rescue: My Favorite Diagnostic Quiz Questions

  • Do you really know the CI issues…or just assuming them…relying on past, old data, not on current data?
  • What were the real problems? Why are they different from what the company said they were?
  • Is senior management willing to hear things that they might not want to hear from the CI team or individual?
  • Are your competitors doing CI? How effectively?

Competitive Intelligence Rescue: Definitions, Processes and Tips Lists

Not only do you get some behind the scenes intelligence, you also get precious processes and tip lists that any CI professional would value.

  • Key competitive intelligence definitions, especially how it’s not market research
  • Creating an early warning system
  • Creating a mission statement for the CI group
  • Strategic intelligence team skillsets
  • Tips for DIYers (p. 71)
  • Defining and protecting your Competitive Sensitive Data
  • Working a trade show or conference
  • Screening/checklist for non-US CI providers
  • 20 rules doing CI research off the Internet (includes social media)
  • Elicitation definition and techniques to improve primary collection skill

The authors also provide a link to their suggested list of competitive intelligence books

Competitive Intelligence Rescue: My Favorite Closing Remark

“Never assume what you are told or what you want to believe, is correct…people do not fully understand their own problems…even that they have problems. Dig deeper: look, do not just listen—verify.”

A must read for any CI professional or manager who wants to learn a process to improve some aspect of their competitive intelligence program.


Learn more about competitive intelligence

Win/Loss Analysis book; Amazon link to Win/Loss Analysis book

Join our mailing list and get our cheat sheets on “How to Build a World Class Win/Loss Program.”

Connect on LinkedIn