Prioritize Getting Started, Not Being Perfect With Win-Loss Programs

Brittany Moreland

One of the most difficult challenges we encounter when onboarding a new client is working through the process of gathering the materials we need to begin their win-loss program (most importantly, the interview guide and list of opportunities to contact for interviews.) The insights that each client hopes to uncover through win-loss analysis take time to incorporate into a high-quality interview guide, and sales reps are often very protective of their hard-earned contact lists, and rightfully so.

However, there are some significant downsides to waiting until the interview guide and lists are perfected before the interview process begins. If the process upfront takes too long, the risk of losing the momentum and excitement of the initial signup may fade, and the ability to get ongoing support and cooperation from internal stakeholders may get more difficult. Starting early and quickly allows Clozd the opportunity to provide early feedback to client stakeholders and provide crucial insight, secure a positive value perception, and garner support for the partnership between Clozd and the client to continue long-term.

To provide feedback as early as possible, Clozd consultants like to emphasize with their clients that the priority should be to get started and not to be perfect. What this means is that after understanding the goals of the client, the consultant will work with the client on a few key early deliverables:

  • Interview Guide Draft: Consultants and their clients will work together to craft an interview guide that explores the key themes and questions clients are hoping to uncover. The first draft is not set in stone; however, at any time, adjustments can be made to the interview guide to make sure that Clozd is always exploring the topics of greatest importance to their clients. 

Consultants will often find that earlier versions of the interview guide and the answers from the interviews help raise new questions to explore in later interviews, which helps keep the interviews and insights fresh and current.

  • Contact List: After describing the list requirements to the client team and building a sampling strategy for the entire program, Clozd consultants will try to understand the expected turnaround time for the client to create a list large enough to cover the needs of the complete program. 

For a 50-interview program, we typically estimate needing 200-250 opportunities in total to complete the interviews. Very rarely do clients have a list of this size ready to send over right away. Without a workflow already in place to pull a large list of high-quality opportunities with accurate contact information, the process could take several weeks.

Instead, consultants will strongly recommend that clients pull a smaller list (10-20 names to start, for example) so that the interview process can begin and continue following up with the client to provide additional names throughout the program. Having a small list of names to draw from for early interviews is crucial to gathering feedback early and presenting to stakeholders and encourages ongoing participation.

I recently worked with a client who had signed up for a medium-sized yearly program of 25 interviews. Still, they were very hesitant to commit to providing the full list of 125 names in the first few weeks of the program that would be needed to cover all of the committed interviews. After finalizing an initial interview guide, I worked with the team to pull a list of 15 names (enough to secure roughly three interviews). After the first three interviews had been completed and published to the portal, the client team found the initial insights so valuable and surprising that they got more buy-in from the senior executives at the company and the sales team. The sales reps, initially hesitant, were so eager to learn more about their won and lost deals that they provided over twice as many total names as would be needed. During the second half of the year, we ultimately extended the program, adjusted the interview guide to capture additional nuance and insight, and gained a valuable long-term customer. 

Before all the needed materials were completely finalized and perfected, the emphasis of starting early demonstrated quick value and extended the life of the program tremendously!

Brittany is a senior consultant at Clozd and has conducted nearly 1000 win-loss interviews since 2018. She has run programs for notable clients like SAP Qualtrics, NICE inContact, Google Looker, and Galvanize.

Before Clozd, she worked as Senior Associate for a healthcare consulting firm called Leavitt Partners, where she designed, conducted, and analyzed all of their primary research studies.

Before Leavitt Partners, she worked as a client success and implementation specialist for SAP Qualtrics, an industry-leading market research technology company.

She holds an MBA from the University of Utah, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Information Systems and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from BYU, where she served three years on their graduate research team for Organizational Management and Leadership.

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