How CRO’s Can Use Win-Loss Analysis to Influence Product Strategy & Roadmap


David Edwards:                                        

Hello, my name is David Edwards. I'm the Executive Vice President at MasterControl. I have been asked by the Clozd team to talk a little bit about the partnership that we've had over the last couple of years of working together. And, it's a pleasure to spend a little bit of time with all of you today. A little bit about MasterControl. We are a software company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. We make software for manufacturing companies. Our primary customers are companies regulated by the FDA that work in life sciences. So, medical device or pharmaceutical companies. The software that we developed is software that helps those companies automate and run more efficiently, their quality management systems. We've been in business for almost 20 years, but the last few years we've been growing at an accelerated rate. And one of the reasons why is because we've made some pretty big investments in new additional solutions related to our core product around quality management systems.

So as we've done now, we're trying to build out a platform where companies are able to manage the product quality data from the very beginning of the life of a product in the design phase, through manufacturing and all the way ending up into post monitoring in the market of the products being used by customers. So, I'm building out this platform, frankly, we've got a very aggressive vision and our development team has been extremely busy, encoding, and developing, and bringing to life these new solutions. It was about a year ago that I was at a sales meeting and during the sales meeting, a few of our reps, few of our top reps has a very specific feedback. Raising some really interesting concerns from comments that they had heard from deals that they had lost. Most of the feedback had to do around our user interface and usability of the software.

Again, we've been in business for a long time and we've been spending quite a bit of time in developing some of these new solutions. As I was in the meeting, listening, and after the meeting thinking about it more, I felt like there was really something there that needed to be addressed. But, what I was pretty worried about is those of you that work in sales management like myself, you can probably relate. What I was worried about was taking up feedback from our reps and giving it directly to our development teams. I was worried about them feeling like we were just being whiny, or we were giving them excuses, and reasons why we didn't close more deals and sells. And so, I was trying to figure out how do I do something with that feedback, but do something in a positive way to try and engage with our development teams.

And so, talking about this with some of my friends, one of them mentioned to me closed and recommended that I talk to the close team. So, exactly what I did and getting to know close and getting to know their approach. I was pretty impressed with the success they had, had working with other customers. And, I thought that this was something, a project that they could really help me with to try and collect direct feedback from customers and frankly, to help verify for me whether or not what my reps were saying, justified me, pushing on our development team to look at reorganizing and reprioritizing their product development pipelines. So, with the close team, we put together a plan, identified a certain number of deals where we had lost, and they were going to reach out to the customers to collect feedback. We worked on a questionnaire, and these were some of the comments that we received back from the customers.

You can see, many of them are directly relate to the feedback that I've been hearing in that sales meeting. One of them said that our product "Looked like Internet Explorer." Keep in mind, this is feedback that we were getting in 2019. Internet Explorer 5 was much older than that. Someone said the mass control looks really old and someone else even said the "MasterControl is selling a product that looks like it's circa 2005." So, it was really interesting that we did get a lot of feedback from the surveys that were confirming, what we had heard. And I have to say, I was super impressed with how effective close was and being able to get these prospects, these deals that we had lost getting the people on the phone and getting them to open up and, and talk to them. Even though they had a pretty specific questionnaire, I was super impressed with how they got them to talk.

And, we're very good at documenting all the information and putting it in a format, so it's easy for us to use. The other thing that was very helpful is they put this information on a webpage. So I was able to give access to our product development team so they could read it firsthand. And by them being able to read it firsthand, it created this really positive environment where instead of me complaining about what was happening, they were able to read the comments from the customer directly themselves. And, then we were able to have very productive meetings, very productive discussions about what this meant, what kind of improvements we could be, should be making to improve the products, so it could help in the sales process. Just to give you a little bit of an idea for what I'm talking about. This is the landing page in our software, where you'd go to start a variety of different tasks that you'd have to do as part of quality management.

This is what our system looked like, maybe about a year and a half ago, and we were getting this feedback. And, then this is what it looked like after our development teams got to work and made some really nice improvements, made some really nice changes. They incorporated our company colors into the system, and made some updates, and really modernize the look and feel of the system.

And, here's some of the comments that we received after they'd made these changes. One of the things that proved to be super helpful, as well as we made the changes to continue to do some interviewing of customers that we lost, but we also expanded it to include customers that we had won deals with, and we asked some of the same questions about the user interface. I knew for some of the responses that we got back, responses like "MasterControl just seemed a little bit better," "A more organized MasterControls functionality across the different modules looked really, really good." And, other comments like that. They even mentioned that our product "Looked beautiful." You can imagine what our developers felt like when they saw these comments, and then ended up really being a positive project for our business and for the way sales and development worked together.

So, what I learned in working with this project is direct customer feedback is invaluable. Being able to particularly talk to customers where you have lost deals and hear directly from them, what went well, what didn't go well, and then put that information into a format that you can use it to talk to others in the company and make better decisions based on information. It's turned out to be a really successful project for us. It's become a best practice. We talk a lot about closed data in a variety of our different meetings. And, it's become a process that we think is super valuable and super important for us to continue to be successful in the future. So, I hope this has been helpful and maybe there's something here that you've been able to learn, and thank you for your time, and good luck with the rest of the conference.