Win-Loss Analysis: Why?

This article highlights some of the benefits of win-loss analysis for B2B sales organizations. For a comprehensive guide to win-loss analysis, click here.

Sales Talent is Scarce

To understand the importance of win-loss analysis, you have to take a step back and look at the general challenge that organizations face when it comes to hiring and optimizing sales talent.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported:

Sales and sales-management positions play a critical role for U.S. businesses, but they are amongst the hardest to fill.

This assessment comes as no surprise to experienced sales leaders who know firsthand the challenges of hiring and developing sales talent.


Inadequate Sales Training = The Norm

Ironically, despite this shortage, most companies underinvest in training and developing the salespeople they already have. In a Harvard Business Review article titled, "Sales Teams Need More (and Better) Coaching," Scott Edinger wrote:

We hear constantly about the importance and value of coaching, especially in sales. But, the reality I have observed while working with hundreds of organizations is that a true culture of coaching rarely exists.

Edinger went on to explain that:

In a survey I conducted a few years ago with a sales team in a Fortune 500 telecom company, I found an interesting contrast. Leaders reported that they spent a considerable amount of time coaching their direct reports and scored themselves high on their efforts – on average, just shy of the 80th percentile. Direct reports responded by saying that they’d received little to no coaching from their leaders and scored them low — on average around the 38th percentile. 

That disturbing trend begs the question, "How can companies get better at training and developing their salespeople?"


Base Training on Win-Loss Interviews

An insightful answer to this question comes from another Harvard Business Review article by Steve W. Martin titled, "What's Wrong With Your Sales Training Program?" According to Martin, the number one problem is that sales training programs are not based upon win-loss customer interviewing. He explained further that:

You truly can't train your sales team on how and why prospective customers make their buying decision if your training isn't based upon direct interviews with decision makers at won and lost accounts.

Savvy sales leaders know the value of building their training programs on the foundation of buyer feedback. Leaders who invest in comprehensive win-loss programs uncover key insights that drive every decision they make – from sales training, to sales promotions, to product development. Surprisingly, however, only 20% of today’s businesses invest in establishing win-loss programs.

Whether ignorance, resources, or expertise are to blame, these organizations miss out on one of the most important opportunities for feedback and improvement. Rather than basing training and decision-making on direct buyer feedback, these companies have to rely on hearsay and intuition. 


Most Reps Don't Know Why They Win & Lose

Without access to legitimate buyer feedback, most organizations turn to their sales team for answers about why deals are won and lost. Unfortunately sales reps are wrong about 60% of the time. 


Many companies rely on the inaccurate feedback from their sales teams to draw conclusions about their products, competitors, and market – leading to suboptimal outcomes such as lower win rates, poor product development decisions, and longer ramp times for new sales employees.

Implementing a win-loss program is the simplest and fastest way to gain clarity into buyer decision-making and empower the organization with the accurate data it needs to effectively train their sales reps, build better products, position those products more effectively, and win more deals.

Organizations that rally around the concept of buyer feedback and then follow through on implementation of a win-loss program see amazing results. In the words of Stephane Rosenwald, the CEO of RV Conseil:

An investment in win-loss analysis will be rapidly paid back as it always leads to increased success rates.


Benefits of Win-Loss Analysis

Win-loss analysis can help your organization to:

Increase Win Rates
Boost sales team productivity, decrease new hire ramp time, and increase win rates.

Verify Perceptions
Perception is reality. Find out what buyers perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses. Does perception align with reality?

Gain Competitive Insights
Uncover key insights about your competitors and how you can differentiate what you offer.

Guide Product Development
Don't rely on instincts and knee-jerk reactions to guide product development. Use real data from actual buyers.