Win loss analysis is more than competitive intelligence, and is my favorite tactical cooperative intelligence practice. Put simply, it offers the best ROI of any tactical competitive intelligence tool. You gain intelligence by interviewing your customers shortly after the buying decision is made. You want to find out why they chose to do business with you or a competitor. During these one on one interviews, you learn about the competition, for sure. You also get product development ideas, how well your marketing campaigns are working, how they found you, sales and customer service improvements. You even learn about your testimonials, if you ask.
Develop a Cooperative B to B win loss program
- Clearly identify objectives for conducting win loss.
- Invest the time to develop the questions you want answered.
- Include your sales force.
- Maintain professionalism throughout the process.
- Don’t just “survey” your customers.
- Don’t just interview losses; include wins.
- Communicate findings broadly within your company.
I’ve conducted win/loss interviews and analysis for years, and enjoyed reading Ford Harding’s post, “Learning from Loss,” where he shared findings from Ken Sawka about what can be obtained from conducting win loss interviews.
Rainmaking and Emotional Intelligence
What I found most interesting was Ford’s experience in professional services firms where partners do the work and make or lose the sale so there isn’t a dedicated sales force. Ford’s focus isn’t competitive intelligence so his perspective is valuable to those of us with our heads in the competitive intelligence sandbox. He is the author of Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field.
A rain maker is an employee who creates a significant amount of new business to a company. Rain Making uncovers how professional services are marketed successfully in terrific detail. I decided to buy the book to gain the perspective of selling in professional services as I sold in the retail and telecommunications arenas.
You will be more successful in capturing competitive data from your sales force if you build your emotional intelligence by gaining an understanding and empathy for the challenges and joys of their job. You will most certainly acquire this from Rain Making. You might even give your company’s sales and PR folks some tip from this book.
For more reading on win loss analysis consider this article, “Increasing Sales through Win Loss Analysis.”
Do you conduct win loss interviews at your company? If so, how have you used the findings to improve your business?
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