Formal win-loss analysis, or the practice of soliciting feedback directly from decision-makers at won and lost accounts, is becoming standard practice for many businesses. In particular, B2B companies that sell complex or expensive products and/or services are finding that direct interviews with the buyers at their won and lost accounts can uncover blindspots and provide key learnings that empower sales enablement, product development, and marketing alignment.
Companies that are looking to implement win-loss analysis for the first time often ask, "what are the keys to success?" In other words, "what are the best practices for designing a world-class win-loss initiative?"
Clozd specializes in providing win-loss interviewing and analysis services to our clients in a range of industries. In our experience, we've found that there are some universal keys to success that apply in virtually any situation - regardless of industry, company size, etc:
Keys To Success
Executive Sponsorship: First, the most successful programs are top-down initiatives that have the backing of the executive team. For a win-loss initiative to drive meaningful outcomes, it needs to be supported and sponsored by senior leadership. Ideally, the executive team will be as eager as anyone else to review the findings and translate them into action.
Program, Not Project: Second, successful companies treat win-loss analysis as an ongoing program not a one-time project. They acknowledge the changing nature of their business and view win-loss analysis as a constant pulse check on the health of their business.
Neutral, Third-Party: Third, successful win-loss interviews are conducted by a neutral third-party. A wealth of research shows that buyers tend to be more candid and open when speaking with a third-party. Additionally, most companies lack the bandwidth and/or the expertise to regularly conduct effective win-loss interviews on their own.
Interviews, Not Surveys: Fourth, successful win-loss initiatives are centered on in-depth interviews, not web-based surveys. Interviews are more professional and adaptable. They result in significantly deeper and richer qualitative insights and boast higher B2B participation rates.
Balanced Sampling: Finally, a balanced sampling strategy is crucial to any successful win-loss initiative. In most cases, we recommend equal representation of wins versus losses. We also recommend a mix of accounts that approximates, to the extent possible, your typical pipeline.
For additional tips and best practices, check out our Definitive Guide to Win-Loss Analysis available here.