Why Every Product Marketer Should Do Win-Loss Interviews

Title: Why Every Product Marketer Should Do Win-Loss Interviews

Presented by: Clozd
Featuring: Avalara, Qualtrics & Armor Cloud Security
Date: Thursday, March 14, 2019

Clozd’s VP of Operations, Braydon Anderson, hosts a conversation with product marketing leaders from Avalara, Qualtrics, and Armor Cloud Security. Learn from their experiences implementing win-loss interviews, including valuable tips and best practices.

Featured Guests

Sanjay.png

Sanjay Puri
VP Product Marketing, Avalara
Sanjay is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Avalara, based in Seattle, WA. He is a senior technology product strategist and leader who has successfully commercialized a wide range of breakthrough technology offerings.

Rachel.png

Rachel Barker
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Qualtrics
Rachel is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Qualtrics, based in Provo, UT. She focuses on the go-to-market strategy, messaging, and positioning for the Qualtrics Employee Experience Platform.

Ryan Smith.png

Ryan Smith
Director of Product Marketing, Armor Cloud Security
Ryan is currently the Director of Product Marketing at Armor Cloud Security, based in Richardson, TX. He speaks regularly at conferences, user groups, and special events on the topics of cloud security, compliance – PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR, and developing secure cloud architectures.

Webinar Transcript

Braydon Anderson:

We'd like to welcome everyone out to the webinar today. We're excited to have you here with us. We're going to give the stragglers a few extra minutes to join and we'll plan to start in about three minutes.

However, while we wait, you can enter into our sweepstakes for a chance to win some Clozd swag. Simply go to clozd.com/webinarsurvey, take the brief survey about your current win loss efforts and you'll be entered into sweepstakes to win. We'll randomly plan to pick five winners. So go ahead and do that and we'll wait for a couple more minutes here.

Great, so thanks to everyone who entered the sweepstakes. We'll keep that survey open throughout the webinar for those of you who haven't had a chance to take it yet, so take that and you'll be entered in to win some Clozd swag.

But now let's get started with the webinar. To start we have a few housekeeping items. First, this webinar is being recorded and we'll plan to email the recording of it to you all afterward. Second, due to time constraints, we won't unfortunately have time for live Q&A. However, if you do have questions for the guests, please submit them through the chat box and we'll plan to respond via email later on.

Let's get started. We're excited to talk about win loss analysis and specifically how win loss interviews can be of value to product marketers. So we invited three product marketers and practitioners to speak with you today. I'd like to introduce myself and our guests. So my name is Braydon Anderson. Currently I oversee operations and marketing at Clozd. Clozd is a provider of win loss services and technology.

Our first guest is Ryan Smith, who is the Director of Product Marketing at Armor Cloud Security based in Dallas, Texas. Also joined by Rachel Barker, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Qualtrics based in Provo, Utah. And our third guest is Sanjay Puri, the VP of Product Marketing at Avalara, based in Seattle, Washington.

We're excited to have them here to share their insights on the benefits and practices of win loss analysis.

To begin, I'd like to briefly just set the stage and explain a little more about what win-loss analysis is and how we define it here at Clozd. Simply put, win-loss analysis is the process of systematically tracking and analyzing the reasons of why you win and lose sales opportunities. Rigorous win-loss analysis helps companies evaluate their strengths and identify areas where they can improve in order to increase their win rates.

For B2B organizations that sell sophisticated solutions, a win-loss interview with the buyer is one of the most effective methods for learning why a deal is won or lost. Firms like Clozd specialize in these kinds of interviews.

In most cases these conversations with buyers last 20 to 30 minutes and drill in demanding areas including the product or solution offering, the sales experience, pricing and packaging, the competitive landscape, et cetera.

Clozd then delivers these insights back to our clients via innovative software, making it easy for users to consume and share the findings across the organization. The insights from these interviews enable organizations to fill critical product gaps, refine their pricing strategies, optimize sales messaging, track competitive and market trends, fix sales execution problems and more. In fact, according to one Gardener study, win-loss analysis can help organizations to improve their win rates by as much as 50%.

Clozd was founded in 2017 to bring a new perspective and new technology to the win-loss space and we've been fortunate [inaudible] deliver win-loss programs for the three companies that are represented by our guests here today, Armor, Qualtrics and Avalara.

So without further ado, we'll jump into some questions with our guests about the benefits of win-loss interviews for product marketers in particular. As well as hear their tips and suggestions for those who are looking to implement win-loss analysis for the first time.

Our first guest is Rachel Barker. Rachel is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Qualtrics. [inaudible] so congrats to you and the team on that pretty big acquisition. Rachel focuses on go to market strategy, messaging and positioning. Qualtrics is an employee experience platform. We're excited to hear from you today so thanks for joining us.

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Now if I remember correctly Rachel your win-loss program was actually run through the sales team but it's widely used throughout the organization? [inaudible] product marketing team, is that correct?

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah, we do. We use our win-loss [inaudible] as far as anyone would actually like to see them. So we allow quite a few users and try to get those almost [inaudible] sales [inaudible] product management, product marketing. Definitely our sales ops and our sales leadership team as well.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Cool, that's awesome. Specifically on product marketing, how do you use the win-loss insights in your role?

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah, that's a good question. Product marketers really sit as this crossroads, there's a lot of different teams. We're responsible at Qualtrics for getting those insights to other leaders. So how do we look at those insights to determine, to work out a market strategy, are we doing what we need to be doing to win the market and I've mentioned this to others before but at Qualtrics we don't like to lose and when we do, we want to know why and when we win we want to know why even more. And you combine that with this intense drive to make sure that the customer's getting what they need and want. Win-loss insight has become really invaluable to us.

And we look at those win-loss insights to really understand what strategic decisions we need to make right. Sometimes it's a small pivot of look maybe our sales pitch on this new product isn't going as well as we thought and let's go in and figure out why, or strategically we're really seeing a gap with this type of deal of this size and this industry and let's go figure out what we need to do to adjust there.

There's all kinds of decisions that win-loss insights can influence and it's something we happen to benefit... For me on the product marketing side, just sort of strategic decisions we make cross function, leadership, I'm looking closely at those insights to determine what sort of messaging and content we need to support our deals. Often times we'll hear a little snippets from the customer... The customer service is really great or we were really excited about the technical services but we were unclear about x,y and z and to me that tells me that I have a sales rep or some Qualtrics representative who's working with the traffic, that was not able to clearly communicate and that's something I've got to [inaudible] in our organization pretty seriously, to go back and say okay where was that broken and how do we ensure we're delivering that better, whether that's training or documentation, messaging or potentially [inaudible] for messaging, is this the right thing we should be saying and is it helping us compete and be clear in the market.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah, that's great. So really from a sales side it sounds like it's helping you nail the messaging both on outsourcing and with the sales team but then things that you can do better but also it tells you your value props it sounds like, right? [crosstalk] [inaudible] And you're doing better than any of your competitors, that gives you a value prop against many of those sort of competitors, is that right?

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah, it can validate or it can kind of negate the value of something we think is working and might need some tweaking. Often times you will get specific [inaudible] from our competitors [inaudible] but other times we will right? Competitor number one had a much stronger value prop than your team and we really felt compelled by this element of their offering. That's not always the be all, end all, one data point, but those can be valuable data points and powerful data points if you see them crop up, repeatedly. Often times they're really great to take back to the team. Whether it's just the product marketing team to go make changes or larger leadership team, which are product marketers [inaudible] to help influence their overall decision across the different functions of our full experience program.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

For sure. So it sounds like you guys definitely see the value of doing win-loss and you've been doing it for a couple of years now. Why did you guys decide to go out and use a third party rather than have someone internally try to do these interviews or run the program yourself?

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah. That's a great question. I was not the original buyer that you mentioned, it's actually gone through our sales team. So I probably can't comment on the original decision but I can tell you why I love it and why I think it's really valuable.

First I think about bandwidth. As a product marketer at Qualtrics, we are growing so quickly that it is really... You're always having to prioritize. This is probably most people in high growth stage as well. I know that at the end of the day when I have four things on my plate and I only have room for two, competitive intel and those types of interviews tend to fall by the wayside. So this ensures that we get those interviews done and that they also service a single course of truth. Having a third party do that keeps them regular and keeps them top of mind for our organization in a way that tends to not happen as much as we want it to. In an ideal state it would happen or in a large company that maybe doesn't deal with high growth, they might be able to ensure that these are a regular. But the third party keeps us doing that. Clozd helps us get that done.

And then the other element of this is the product marketer, I really value that relationship I have with my customers and I try to make sure I'm contacting them for the right reasons at the right times. We have so many people at Qualtrics that could be contacting our customers. Our customer reps are reaching out to them and our sales reps reach out to them, I reach out to them and so how do you make sure you're not over contacting the individual and asking them for a lot and ensuring when you do ask them for things you're providing more value to them than you're taking from them.

So I like to think of Clozd as a way to help us manage those customer relationships so that we're not going out and asking them all the time to be answering questions. Instead they sort of have a little bit more, I think transactional's the wrong word, but another party, another person that's getting these insights to them and if they have any big issues or they want to really talk highly of the company, it's not as sometimes awkward to do so directly to Clozd as it might be to me, who's also the one talking to them about webinars or coming for a big conference or asking them about product functionality. So it's nice to have a little bit of a buffer there, to work with a third party.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Yeah, seems like we're constantly asking our customer's to do stuff. I'm always asking for references or asking them for a case study and it's just one more touch point that now... It's on another party rather than on you to keep that relationship solid between you and your customer, having that third party seems like a definite [inaudible] in that area. A little bit easier for you.

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yes definitely.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Cool, that's great insight. Maybe just another question is, what's benefit of, from these win-loss insights that you get, maybe from a competitive intelligence stand point.

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah. I think competitors intelligence is not something product marketing necessarily own an organization regardless of whether your organization tell you as a product marketer, you're in charge of this. There are other people that are going to be a great channel for that and that are going to need that in their jobs. I would say customer success, sales reps for sure and we, even being the largest organization, I looked at just SAT versus us and the different functions they might have for competitive intelligence but Qualtrics has and has had in the past. And it's really for [inaudible] that that competitive intelligence gets to all those different places. But often times we'll see, someone over in sales [inaudible] or customer success going and giving their own competitive intelligence and not having that contrast, can create some difficulties.

And so what I like about Clozd, what I lika about these win-loss interviews from a competitor stand point is that you kind of do have that single source of truth. You have an interview that has documented, it's recorded, it's accessible to these different parties throughout the organization and can clear up to either six together, competitive intelligence that I might be getting on my own from private company, that our sales leadership is getting, our sales reps are getting and we can tie it back to specific deals that have quantifiable opportunities attached to them.

I think that's a really valuable thing when you're looking at different data points and trying to get the right insights to take impactful action off of. We're always really focused on not just making big decisions about one single data point and ensuring that we get all the different angles on something before we go move forward on something big. It's important to do and that's helpful when you look at the competitive intelligence [inaudible] from different spots and ensuring that it's kind of all streamlined in one place. And I think that the third party stuff does that.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Yeah for sure. That's really good insight. Well Rachel, this has been awesome. Really appreciate you taking the time. Maybe if you have one or any suggestions for other product marketing managers that are in similar shoes as you, specially around win-loss, any addition insight you would give there? Or any suggestions you would have for them?

Rachel Barker:                                        

Yeah, that's a good question. I think for me it's really just comes down to, make sure you're always listening to your customers. Just because you have one phone call three months ago with a customer and making their anecdote be representative of what you're actually doing in the market, I think would be a big miss. And so that continual stream of listening to what's going on and understanding what's happening in the market is going to position you to play better for a longer period of time. If you're not doing that, it's really easy to get caught up or surprised by something. A competitor coming out with a new offering that you just weren't aware of because you weren't listening. And I think, yeah listen. You get really good at listening as a product marketer and that will help you stay ahead and be innovative and think creatively to address the customer needs.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Awesome, that's great, we really appreciate your time today and hope you have good one.

Rachel Barker:                                        

Thanks.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Great, so our next speaker in Sanjay Puri. Sanjay is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Avalara. As a Senior Technology Product Strategist and leader, Sanjay has worked with brilliant entrepreneurs, colleagues and executive teams over the years to successfully commercialize a wide range of break through technology offering. Spanning roles with innovative startups and mid sized growth companies as well as top global enterprises and B2B organizations. So Sanjay, thanks for being with us today.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Thank you Braydon.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

So I think a question that a lot of people think about as they're doing win-loss is just... Tell us a little about the story and why you at Avalara decided to do and implement win-loss.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Well, the straight forward answer to this question is we wanted to get systematic feedback about our sales execution, our marketing efforts, product capabilities and then competitive intelligence. That definitely is the first factor. However, the [inaudible] response [inaudible] he wanted to get feedback directly from consumers and prospects. We did want to talk to our internal folks from different parts of the organization and then try to reconcile opinions of what people heard doing the deal.

I wanted to hear the feedback directly from customers and prospects. And this is a great way of doing that. And for a third very important reason, and in my mind, what has worked really well is, embarking on a structured win-loss process, specially with those, allows us to build a framework and structure to share this information regularly because if you have to scale to be able to share this information broadly through the organization, so the company can learn, employees can learn and they can modify behaviors and take actions based on these insights and learnings. You have to figure out ways to scale. And you cannot do one-offs in order to achieve those goals.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

That's good, that's great. And then maybe tell me a little bit more about kind of your win-loss strategy and how that's evolved over time?

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Yeah, so when we started off I had a hypothesis in my head which was, we wanted to start off with about 70% losses and 20% wins because in my mind you learn more from losses. As we went through about a couple or three months of win-loss interviews, what we discovered is that our hit rate on the losses was turning out to be low. We were not getting as many customers who were agreeing to talk to us [inaudible] losses. And while we were still interviewing a lot of losses we said, let's switch the ratio.

The other reason we decided to switch the ratio to about 50,50 was we were already getting some good feedback and actually consistent feedback from both the wins as well as the losses. So sticking to a 50,50 win-loss ratio seemed to be fine.

Eventually, some time about the fourth quarter of last year, no of 2018, we pivoted our approach one more time, where we said that we wanted to focus a lot more on competitive wins and losses because we discovered that the competitive landscape was changing pretty drastically, things were heating up, especially after our company IPO ed and it made a lot of sense for us to really to make this pivot into competitive wins and losses.

So all in all I think our approach has continued to change and I fully expect it to change because neither our business nor the market, not anything else that goes on around us stays constant. So make sure that you're constantly modifying your strategy based on realities around you.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah and I think that's a really smart and wise approach as you're doing win-loss. So you've been doing a program for about a year and half now with Clozd and so it's changed already a couple of times and I think that's wise, right? You want to get good feedback and a lot of feedback about a specific segment then [inaudible] your organization is changing, your competitive landscape is changing, let's go back deeper this [inaudible] segment and mine as much as we can there. So I think that's a great approach that anyone who's doing win-loss should really consider as they're doing their interviews.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Yip.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

So yeah, like I said, you've been doing your program for about year and a half. Maybe dive a little bit deeper into kind of the nature of the feedback that you've received?

Sanjay Puri:                                          

We have focused on, I would say, about four different areas. The first one being pricing and the objective of focusing on pricing is not really to get to specific price points because you're not going to get to that. A lot of interviewees are going to be hesitant to talk about specific pricing. But we are able to get some level of comparative analysis of how prospects view our pricing, how they perceive our pricing and if there is something that we should be thinking about in terms of finessing that.

The second area that we have focused on is understanding sales team effectiveness. And that's a piece of feedback that we hear a lot. We hear many times that our prospects have really appreciated the way a particular sales person has conducted the deal, they've done the sales process. And we communicate back to our sales leaders.

We also hear that a particular prospect was not too pleased with the way the deal was conducted. And that feedback is passed along too. But really that particular component of feedback has allowed us to really get our sales teams to become a lot smarter about how they're selling. And our sales leaders to have great feedback from customers or rather prospects on how their sales perhaps are performing.

The third area is competitive and I think that kind of sort of gets to a lot of the areas we've talked about. Pricing, sales team effectiveness, marketing, potentially product feedback. That's kind of is all encompassing but more of a competitive rather than talking individually about each one of those areas.

And the fourth area that I should probably have mentioned previously was product feedback. And one take away from my experience on product feedback is that you will get great product feedback depending on how deep your due diligence process typically is in your sales [inaudible]. For example, if you actually run a proof of concept, you're probably likely to get a lot deeper, better feedback about product capabilities, as opposed to if it's a relatively smaller, shorter due diligence cycle.

So those are the four areas that I would say we've received. I wouldn't go into the specifics around those. But those are the areas that we've kind of addressed.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah and it sound like, obviously a lot of that affects you directly as a product marketing leader but how's it working with the other teams when you get feedback for them?

Sanjay Puri:                                          

I've been really fortunate. The sales team I work with, I think of them as true partners and they've been tremendously open and in fact welcoming of the feedback that they've received because we, Avalara, especially our sales leaders, are committed to making sure that we are improving our sales reps actual skills. Of course, we want to improve their true pull, their productivity but we want to make sure that they are acting as professionals. And this goes a long way in supporting those calls. So the leaders know that this feedback is truly intended to improve our sales effectiveness, the reps know this feedback is being used to improve their skills. So I think it's a win win all the way round.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Yeah. And it's interesting you mention that because it's funny we... A lot of people are a little nervous when they get product or sales feedback to share that with the other teams, especially when it's negative, but we get a lot of feedback that, all the teams love it. They wanted to know how they could improve the product, they want to know how they can improve the sales cycle and things like that. And so I think that's kind of a common thing for us to not be worried about, is working on teams, when we have negative feedback and especially as we're working alongside with them, that they're going to be very open and receptive to that feedback.

At the end of the day it's a third part collecting it, so it's not you as Sanjay the product marketer, it's a third party and you're kind of the middle man relaying that information back to them it seems like.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Yeah, Braydon, I think there're a few layers to that. I think it's extremely important that a third party is collecting it but it is also important that the feedback comes from customers. It's not somebody's opinion, it's not somebody who has some type of Axe to grind or who's trying to negatively impact another team or what have you.

It's about this neutral feedback that is being collected from a customer to a third party and then being passed along through marketing, which really from a sales perspective, is supporting a sales organization. So I think those things are extremely important in making these effective.

Now what also really, really helps is the structure that you at Clozd help with around that data. Because without having that portal and making it available for the many folks within the organization to be able to see openly, looking at the transcripts and seeing some quarterly reports. Without having those, it would make it a lot less effective. Having all of those tools available is incredibly valuable.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Yeah and just for the audience, at Clozd we obviously offer technology for our win-loss programs that really make it easy to share the insights that we're finding all the way from the individual transcript to emerging themes. That's what Sanjay's referencing there. Really disseminating that information widely throughout the org is [inaudible] in that realm.

I guess maybe, because we're kind of coming up her to a close Sanjay is, how has Avalara benefited from the action and from the feedback?

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Well I won't go into specifics about the benefits because of confidentiality of information but as I mentioned before, we have been looking at feedback around pricing, around sales team effectiveness, around product and then also competitor and I feel like we've definitely benefited in all of those areas.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Awesome. Maybe the last question I'd have for you is just what tips or best practices would you share with other product marketers, obviously around win-loss?

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Absolutely. So I have three tips for product marketers. The first one is start the damn program. Doesn't matter how big you make it, start with a few interviews, two, five, 10, 20 per month whatever number makes sense at a regular cadence that is right for your business and budget. Start the program.

And then number two is, continue to monitor it closely. It's not a fire and forget. Look at the results and then start to hone in on what exactly you want to achieve out of the program. Some people go in to it with a hypothesis and other times you may decide that you just want to start a program because it makes sense. Because there are no one size fits all solutions for something like this. You will have to match the win-loss and you have the opportunity to match the win-loss program with whatever your strategic drivers are. And then fine tune it until you are getting what you need out of the program.

And then the third one, and I think this is really important for product marketers. There is no better way for product marketers to gain credibility within an organization or to gather support for your initiatives than bring the voice of the customer into the equation. And in my mind you can have an argument with somebody and state a customer testimonial and all arguments come to an end because that's the end of opinions.

Opinions, while they are very interesting, are not very valuable. Direct customer feedback is. And this helps, I really believe that bringing direct customer feedback, whether it's through win-loss analysis or other mechanisms for product marketers it's [inaudible] make yourself credible and effective.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Yeah. I love that last, especially... So I was actually a product marketing manager myself in a past life and it had very similar experience. You can't argue the voice of the customer. Everyone can bring their opinions but when you actually bring data from your actual prospects and buyers and customers you can't dispute it. So I love that last point Sanjay. That's awesome.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Great.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Cool. Well this has been awesome Sanjay, I really appreciate your feedback. I hope everyone got out of this as much as I did from learning from you Sanjay. Again, thank you for your time and appreciate all your insights.

Sanjay Puri:                                          

Thanks a lot.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Awesome, so our next speaker is Ryan Smith from Armor. So Ryan with 10 years of experience serves the Director of Product Marketing at Armor Cloud Security. Ryan actually speaks nationwide at conferences, user groups and special events on the topics of cloud security, compliance, PCI, HIPA and GDPR and developing secure cloud architectures. A lot of stuff that's really over my head so we're glad that Ryan does this job well.

Ryan also holds a PhD in Mass Media and Communications Studies from European Graduate School. So Ryan, thanks for having us, or thanks for joining us today.

Ryan Smith:                                            

Yeah, you're welcome thank you for having me. Really excited to share a little bit of what we do here at Armor, how win-loss fits into that and some of the great work we've been able to accomplish with Clozd.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah, we're excited to hear about it. So let's go ahead and dive into it. So one of the first questions I have is why did Armor decide to do win-loss interviews, what was the main driver or event the business case?

Ryan Smith:                                            

Certainly, I think there's two answers to that question. First is we were in the middle of transitioning our product structure from a legacy product that had drone and driven a lot of the revenue for the company in the first five years of the company to a new product line that better fit in with some of the market trends that we were seeing.

So we were going to market with the new product and had to find product market fit. So external win-loss was a great time for us to test messaging or product gaps or how we were packaging that new product to really get some early, quick, iterative feedback on what we were building, whether it was working, how it was sold or positioned within the market and what that was doing for us. That was the first reason.

And the second reason was that we primarily did have a win-loss problem program and we were doing it internally before. So with our own sellers and month to month we would get with them and review the deals they had from that month and try and get a little more color from them around some of those same questions.

Well what we were finding was that the internal win-loss program, while it was getting us some traction with that, wasn't quite uncovering all the insights we needed to. And that wasn't a fault of our sellers, it was a couple of things. One, whenever you're doing it internally with your within your own sales organization, there's always a little bit of sellers bias. And the [inaudible] themselves will always look at you as, okay you're just trying to look for last minute avenues to try and salvage this deal.

Whereas an external company coming and doing it really is trying to position that, look we realize that we've lost your business this is just to help gain insights for down the road and for me it brings a little more objectivity to the entire equation.

And so it was a desire to take some of the great initial work we had done with our own internal program but provide some formalizations and structure, some objectivity that really resonated in our prospects minds of them being able to share a little more, once it was transitioned to an external company.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah, that's really good. Was it a hard sell internally to move from an internal program to an external program. Who do you need to get buy in from?

Ryan Smith:                                            

So, it's really great that within Armor's marketing program that we have a great close relationship with the sales team. So we do an account based marketing strategy, which means our lead structure is not based on whether it was marketing content that brought in a lead or whether it was a seller doing that or out bounding or in bounding, but really, it's about the joint efforts of the marketing and sales motions and how they qualify accounts up together within that funnel.

And really we have a common goal with the sales team of revenue. So whether the company makes revenue or not reflects both on marketing and on sales. So we already have a little bit of that collaboration and structure in place but we have to work and position like the sellers that this wasn't something that was meant to come in and critique them. Or act as a performance indicator on their email revues or something.

So first it was kind of right setting with the sales team that this feedback we'd only then use for positive improvements within the company and not as something to be held over their heads.

But beyond that, in words [inaudible] sales team, to get that buy in, we definitely wanted to make sure that product and operations and [inaudible] and our executive team were all read into it as well because it's a little bit of a misnomer to think that you're only going to get feedback into the sales questions and you're working a win-loss program because that's really what it's targeted towards, is that selling process.

You're also going to get a lot of great feedback on your product gaps, how you support the solution, what onboarding was like et cetera and so it was making sure that the entire company had a little bit of buy in into some of the benefits and outcomes that we would be able to achieve if we implemented a program like this.

And then once we explained that value proposition, explained the methodology that Clozd would be using, it was pretty easy to get buy in from the entire team.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

That's great. One thing I want to dive into a little bit more is around the working with the sales team. So it sounds like you guys got a great relationship with them but sometimes there is negative feedback that does get back to the sales team. How do you make it feel like it's not, like you said, critiquing the sales team, but it's more just this is going to help us all and you don't want them to feel shamed right? How do you guys handle that at Armor?

Ryan Smith:                                          

Yeah so I think there's a couple things. First it's a realization that a lot of clients within the win-loss interview really personal information about a seller generally isn't the type of information that surfaces. I'm assuming that you had one seller who just never gave collateral over, didn't hit deadlines, was rude on the phone, some of that might come across on an individual level but really a lot of the feedback you get regarding sales is about messaging or the sales mission itself and communication cadences or how pricing was positioned et cetera.

So it's more at the process level anyways. That generalized feedback that you can start with. It's just sharing the actual type of feedback that you're going to get.

Secondly it's important to realize and make sales feel that you're in this together. This is as much a critique on every other part of the company and the process and it's just an interactive feedback cycle. So when sellers see that hey, things about the product are being stated as well, not just the sales mission or they have some problems with our messaging or packaging and one make them feel like that feedback is distributed. Two it's important to show quick wins. So take that feedback and make improvements, help them.

So we've actually done a great job getting seller buy in to this by some of the times when the win-loss is exposed critical things of product marketing collateral making changes to that collateral almost immediately, [inaudible] to sales and telling how you can take some of this feedback and iterate and improve your own process and that makes them feel better as well.

So I think if you kind of focus on what the actual feedback is that you'll get from it, sellers feel pretty comfortable that it's not just going to be a bunch of personal attacks. And then really it's about making them feel that you're in the same bucket with them. I think if you do those two things then getting sales buy in to something like external win-loss is pretty easy.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

And that's something that we try to preach even here at Clozd as a best practice. When you're starting a win-loss program, regardless of how you're doing it, is to get the sales and the product in the executive team, get their buy in as you're building your program initially right, so as you're building the interview guide of the questions that you want to ask on these interviews, go and ask the sales and make sure they have their input and their buy in so that when they get the feedback, they'll know that it's stuff that they wanted asked. So I think that's great insight Ryan, I appreciate you diving into that a little bit more.

Maybe one other question is just generally, what feedback have you been getting at Armor as these interviews have been conducted for you?

Ryan Smith:                                          

I think it's all feedback that gears towards finding product market fit. So product market fit is something that's the holy grail of any product or marketing team and it's making sure that you're delivering the right features, the right solution to a particular target segment's problems.

And so whether that is what product we're building and what features it has, how that product is packaged, how it's priced in relation to other competitors, what competitive insights that the market is giving us as to what other companies do better, what they do worse, how their pricing models compare et cetera. All of this stuff is feedback that we've gotten through the interviews and it's really helped us make quicker decisions as to what's next on the product grid now. How we should message, what competitive battle cards we should build next.

So I think that's how that feedback gets translated within Armor at least is not just waiting until the end of a quarter or the end of a month to make adjustments based on prospect deals. But rather, everything that's happening with our sales cycle, every deal whether it's a win or a loss becomes an iterative feedback loop for us that is making really real changes in our day to day operations. Whether that's the product marketing collateral we're producing, like I said, what we're putting on the road map, what [inaudible] work you need to do to make the new offering competitive and transition people from our old offering to our new offering.

So that's the biggest thing, I think it gives you a lot of insights into a lot of different areas not just the sales process but what that allows you to do is take that feedback and operationalize it in a way that allows for inner changes within your selling motions that actually have pretty big impact.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

That's awesome. That's great. That's really insightful feedback for the org it sounds like. Well cool, this has been really good Ryan, I think maybe the last question I have for you is just around what advice would you give to other product marketing managers that are in a similar role to yourself?

Ryan Smith:                                          

Yeah, certainly. So first of all definitely do external win-loss interviews. I think we've shown in some of the other discussion that we've had today is just some of the overall benefits it can provide to a company and how it can create changes within a company operations that truly allow you to iterate and move quickly in the market.

Outside of that, I would say there's a couple of best practices and I think that these best practices are also why my second piece of advice to product marketing managers would be to chose Clozd, we'll get into that here in a little bit, but I think that you need to have equal numbers of win-loss interviews. It's just as important why you lose as to why you win. You want to make sure that those are also distributed across either use cases or roles within a company or so you can [inaudible] get better data on how different industries, personas et cetera are interacting with your product.

You want to make it non 'salesly' so I think this is an advantage of having it be an external vendor as opposed to internal, is you avoid conflicts of interest when it's an external company doing it as opposed to you doing it.

And then you want to make sure that you can take the content that was told in those interviews and actually do something with that. So the way we do that is we have regular meetings with the sales leaders on a weekly basis, where any new interview we get in from Clozd, we go through the top five insights and then any action items with a timeline for adjusting something based on those insights.So weekly we're having touch points as to how to make the findings actionable out of win-loss.

And then the last piece of advice I have is understand that your customer's perception is reality. And so whether you like what's coming out of win-loss, you absolutely disagree with what's coming out of win-loss, often times what the customer's telling you is the market perception of your company and your product. So don't get caught up in an ego trip, but really understand why a customer might be saying those things [inaudible].

And for all of those reasons and those best practices, it's why we chose Clozd. Because y'all have an incredibly consistent methodology, you're able to probe and prod in all the right directions, get insights and take very quiet people that don't want to give out information and are holding it close to their chest and get them to spill all the beans in the world. Y'all are able to do that with a great price and with great client relations, so I would say those are my best practices and why I think somebody like Clozd could deliver on those best practices.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Awesome, those are great insights. Especially for anyone that's just starting to get into thinking about doing win-loss or if you've been doing it for a while I think Ryan just shed some great light on some of the things to take into account as you're doing your win-loss programs.

Ryan, really appreciate the time today, we'll let you run but thanks again for the time and for the insights.

Ryan Smith:                                            

Yeah, you're very welcome. Thanks for having me Braydon and once again really appreciate our partnership with Clozd and everything you've been able to provide us, hopefully we've shown product marketers and companies worldwide why doing something like win-loss is valuable.

Braydon Anderson:                                  

Perfect, thanks, appreciate it!

Ryan Smith:                                            

Thanks Braydon.

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