In my role at Clozd, I work closely with companies that are implementing win-loss interview programs - often for the first time. As we near implementation, there is a lot of excitement. They come to realize the kinds of profound insights that will be gleaned by conducting frequent interviews with the actual decision-makers at won and lost accounts.
As the program gets underway, they have lofty expectations about who will consume the feedback and how it will impact various functions. They’re excited for the sales team to uncover flaws and inefficiencies in the sales process. They’re excited for the product team to learn which features really will impact sales. They’re excited for the marketing team to glean valuable competitive insights. They’re excited for the executive team to get more aligned around where to focus resources.
But, one of the biggest problems most orgs encounter after launching their program is that they haven’t developed a simple, effective strategy for sharing win-loss findings with all of these important stakeholders. As a result, the program limps along with poor engagement and minimal impact. The profound insights are there in the interview transcripts, but no one seems to know or care. I experienced this challenge firsthand while working as a product marketer at a B2B technology company in 2014. Our company had recently implemented a win-loss program with the help of a third-party vendor. For a variety of reasons, our leadership team had wisely opted to outsource the program to a neutral, third-party.
Unfortunately, I was completely unaware that we had engaged a third-party to conduct these interviews. As a product marketer, I was craving deeper insights about our buyers, our competitors, and our market. But I never heard about the program. I never saw any of the interview transcripts. And I never heard anyone mention any of the findings in meetings that I attended. It wasn’t until I left the company that I learned about the program. I was in shock! How was this program running and I didn’t even know about it? The findings would have been instrumental to my role. Understanding the drivers or themes behind key wins and losses would have influenced content on our website, on our blog, in our ebooks, and in our internal campaigns to educate and train the sales team.
What happened to the transcripts and findings?
So, where were all of the transcripts and findings from our ongoing win-loss program? Not surprisingly (given my experience) the deliverables were quarantined on the drive of a single employee’s computer. This particular employee had good intentions. He had occasionally shared the deliverables with sales leadership, and had even synthesized some of the findings into his own spreadsheet that he sent to some of the sales leaders. But, as is typical in most businesses, other projects and priorities kept this employee busy and the breakthrough insights of the program sat stagnant on his hard drive.
Even worse, the vendor that had the interviews waited until the entire program was complete to deliver any of the interview transcripts or summary reports. By the time they sent over the 80 slide deck to my colleague, it had been almost a year since the original evaluation and decision to move forward. Most people had forgotten all about the program. With the exception of a few sales leaders, no one ever saw any of the findings. The executive, product and marketing teams were left completely in the dark.
What's the solution?
Obviously, having a strategy for collecting win-loss insights is the critical first step. But, having a corresponding strategy for sharing the insights effectively across your org is just as important.
According to Clozd’s Definitive Guide to Win-Loss Analysis:
Promote a culture of transparency and leverage technology to share the results and transcripts with relevant stakeholders across the organization.
Find simple and easy ways to synthesize the themes and findings from across multiple interviews, so that executives and other stakeholders can quickly and easily consume the most important information.
Tag interview transcripts with relevant metadata such as the primary competitor, deal size, sales territory, industry, etc. and make it easy to search the transcripts based on those variables.
Alert key stakeholders (i.e. via email) when new transcripts are published and when synthesis reports are available.
Promote adoption of the findings through regular executive debriefs, sales trainings, one-on-one sales coaching sessions, etc.
To learn more about win-loss best practices, download a free copy of the guide here.
In addition, Clozd offers innovative software for housing and sharing win-loss transcripts, themes, and reports with stakeholders across your org. Request a demo here.