Win-Loss Reviewsadmin | Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 | No Comments »
According to Pragmatic Marketing, win-loss reviews provide the most important sources of market intelligence gathering for product and sales development. Yet, very few of you will take advantage of this valuable and well-defined source of information.
Most of you will not conduct structured win-loss reviews, and those of you that do will often rely on the opinions and perceptions of the sales teams who were directly involved in the bid process. In fact, you are more likely to take the time to interview your own staff as they exit your business than you are your customers or prospects.
‘We lost because our price was too high’, or ‘we won because we had the best relationship and the best product’ will no doubt sound familiar as internal reasons for either securing a new client or failing to win a new business opportunity.
Truth is, these comments are simply the opinions of your sales staff and have little to do with the real reasons you won or lost an opportunity. Whilst interesting, the opinions of your own sales and marketing people are irrelevant. The opinions that counts are the priceless market insights that comes from a deep and timely understanding of the buying process, buying criteria and actual buying experiences, from your customers or prospects perspective.
Some of you will already conduct internal win-loss reviews. But do these reviews include detailed and independent persona based customer interviews, do they seek to gauge and qualify your customer’s view of the buying process, or do they largely result in consolidating your own internal opinions and assumptions?
Conducting win-loss reviews will provide you with a detailed insight into your customers buying process. They will give the teams involved in your go-to-market strategy a detailed understanding, not of the product they are selling, but of how buyers think and behave when buying that product. Repeated win-loss reviews will capture the patterns and trends that are key to ensuring your go-to-market teams can build sales and marketing campaigns focused on buyers, and not on the product itself.
The time to gather win-loss market intelligence is just after your customer has left, or you have won or lost a competitive bid. You should have a formal process in place to engage with your customer or prospect and be prepared to invest in conducting one-on-one interviews with each of the different ‘personas’ within the customer organisations involved in the buying process. You will be looking to understand their perceptions prior to engaging you, what problems created their need, how they selected you as a potential vendor, which personas were involved, where you were strongest, where competitors were strongest and the surprising comments or insights they provide you during the interview process.
You will undoubtedly discover amazing things about how real buyers’ evaluated your solution. So often you are so convinced of the benefits of your own products that when you actually get out there and listen to how real buyers think, you start to see patterns in the data. You will discover factors about your product, service, solution or company that are critical in the purchasing process – many of which you will not otherwise have be aware of.
Gathering the information is the first, critical step in leveraging win-loss reviews. The second step is taking the insights you learn and leveraging them across everything you do in developing and evolving your go-to-market strategy.
Committing to customer centric win-loss reviews will deliver game changing insights, arm your customer marketing & sales teams with valuable customer centric knowledge that translates directly into creating true market competitiveness.
For more information on win-loss strategy and methodology, or to discuss our win-loss related consulting services, contact us at Hemingway Partners.
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