Securing Buy-In from Company Leadership

Transcript

Riley Martin:                                          

Welcome to this session of WinLossWeek. The world's largest online event dedicated to win-loss analysis. My name is Riley Martin, and this event is hosted by Clozd, in partnership with The Pragmatic Institute, Product Marketing Alliance, Modern Sales Pros, and Competitive Marketing Summit. The title of this session is, Why Leverage a Partner for Win-Loss Analysis. We're joined by Amanda Ladd, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Projects at Businessolver. Amanda joined Businessolver in 2010, and has focused primarily on creating, documenting, and building processes for internal and external sales and growth opportunities. She works closely with the Businessolver executive, legal, financial, and operations teams to ensure alignment across the organization on large-scale projects. Amanda, thanks so much for joining us today.

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Thank you.

Riley Martin:                                          

So just to get some context and some background, could you tell us a little bit about Businessolver and your role there?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Yeah, absolutely. So Businessolver offers a SAS technology platform and services alongside to support benefits administration. We focus on complex employer groups that are looking to manage benefits administration in a streamlined approach, through a single sourced platform. In my role, specifically, as you mentioned, I've been there 10 years and really have been helping focus on growing the business primarily as a technology subject matter expert within the sales organization. But most recently, in my role as the AVP of Strategic Projects, I'm working across the entire organization to drive efficiency with different projects that that can continue to help us scale up our business.

Riley Martin:                                          

That's awesome. Thank you for sharing a little bit of that. Just to get started, could you just tell us what prompted the decision for your organization to do win-loss analysis in the first place?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Absolutely. So as a growing technology company, we are a learning organization. So we're always looking at how we can continue to get better as a business, not just within the technology, but within our processes and our people. And every year we have a theme. And so as a leadership team, when we were looking forward into 2020, "level up" became our theme for 2020. Which in light of recent events has taken it even heavier weight to it.

But as we were looking at the things that we wanted to improve on across the organization, 2020, doing a thorough win-loss analysis was one of those. And so we felt like the way to level up was to put a better process in place and find a better way to do it because we were pretty inconsistent in the past. You would take a sales consultant's feedback, or maybe something that another leader had heard, whether it was a win or a loss, but there was nothing very consistent that was being used across the organization. So in the spirit of leveling up, that's really what prompted our decision to make that a focus for 2020 and beyond.

Riley Martin:                                          

I think you make a good point with trying to establish that structured win-loss program. And so what made you want to find a partner to do that versus doing that internally?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Sure. So as a growing company, a lot of people including myself, wear a lot of different hats. And so as we started looking at what's the best way to have an established program to build something out, we really didn't know that there were other organizations out there that could help us. Obviously we were aware of it, but hadn't done a lot of research. And so in starting to do research and understanding that there are really great partners out there that are experts in the field of win-loss analysis and how to conduct interviews and how to get the best feedback. We felt that in order to truly level up in creating a program that we needed to find a partner to do this, because we also want to make sure that we were getting the best feedback. And I think, as we started discussing it and researching it as a team, that having a third party conduct those interviews would drive a better result in terms of the feedback.

It could be much more consistent and it also could eliminate or minimize some of the finger pointing that can happen too, because it really is in the spirit of how do we continue to get better as a business so that we can provide better results for our clients? So we felt having unbiased third party conduct these interviews and then have those to be able to review as a leadership team, to drive consistent feedback and action across all the different areas that are impacted by a win or a loss, whether that's sales, product, operations. And so we could have that be much more consistent if we leveraged a partner versus trying to do that internally.

Riley Martin:                                          

Yeah. I think you bring up a lot of good points about using a third party and the advantages of that, but something I'd like to understand is how do you gain leadership buy-in to leverage a partner with win-loss analysis?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Yeah. So when I was going out and doing research on, here's why we should make the investment and having a partner and not leverage an internal to do that, really I came across a few different studies. One that stuck out was a Gardner study that said, if you had a formal program at a minimum, you could increase your sales by 10%. And so in understanding that it almost became a no brainer when I started putting together a representation for executive buy-in because for us that could just be one additional win every year. Could essentially create a true return on our investment. Plus it could drive so much more consistency in the feedback that we give across the organization.                                                    

Like I mentioned with, whether it's product or sales. And so knowing that just selling one additional deal a year could essentially pay for the program, but then have all these other soft dollar impacts and driving efficiency and a better feedback loop across the entire organization, it made it very easy. It made my job pretty easy once I did the research to actually get buy-in. But then that also meant the real work needed to start to actually lay the groundwork for a program. How are we going to roll this out? And how are we actually going to leverage the feedback that we get from the interviews?

Riley Martin:                                          

Yeah. Just going off of that actually, how have you been able to leverage the feedback that you've received from this win-loss program that your company has been able to leverage?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Yeah. So from a program perspective, internally, we have established monthly meetings that... And we actually piggyback off meetings that were already happening. But as we were looking into, how are we setting up across organization for 2020, there are a few different cross-functional meetings that we set up with sales and product and operations to make sure that we're aligned. And so the way that we leverage it, we use a lot of the feedback that we get in the consolidated reports that we're actually getting from Clozd.

So it makes it very easy, when it comes time for those monthly meetings, to hone in on the specific themes that we heard across those interviews and the specific talking points that we want to give us feedback. So we bring those up in our monthly meetings across the organization, and then put specific action plans in place, depending on the different themes and feedback that we're hearing. And then also part of my role, another hat that I wear, is helping support our different segments within the business. And so we as segment operational leaders, we'll sit down with the sales leaders and those groups and talk very specifically about certain opportunities and the details within that specific interview, so that we can give direct feedback on how to continue to improve and impact anything that may be in our pipeline currently. That we may be able to shift in terms of strategy or things to do.

Riley Martin:                                          

That's really awesome. It sounds like you're really able to utilize that feedback and-

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Absolutely. We love it. We absolutely love it.

Riley Martin:                                          

That's so awesome. Just to wrap up, what advice would you have on how to build out a successful win-loss program?

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Yeah. I think first you have to start by understanding how your goals as an organization are impacted by putting a formal win-loss program. So I work for an organization that is a learning organization that wants to continue to get better. And we have specific goals that we outlined as a leadership team. So I had that luxury to say, "Here are the specific goals that we've outlined and here's how putting that program can have a direct impact on those goals." So, that's really where I started. And then I think to not rock the boat too much, but to put something formal in place. If you have meetings that are already happening, that are cross-functional like I mentioned for us, to be able to piggyback off of those and say, "Hey, we want to be able to deliver this as part of this meeting or with this leadership group."

It just becomes another really great data point that you can bring to the table in maybe meetings that you're already having. So that way it makes a little bit softer of a rollout, but then it becomes something that's just so natural as part of the conversation. I feel like I've been really fortunate where executive leadership team has truly started leveraging the Clozd feedback that we get as part of our natural conversations. I've been in one-on-one conversations with our CEO or even other leadership and it's just part of the conversation now. It's like we've been doing the program for years and really we've only been doing it for a few months, which is pretty incredible. So I think if you're able to look at those goals and tie them into meetings and conversations that are already happening, it can very quickly become a natural part of the dialogue. And hopefully, for anyone that's considering it, it will have very immediate impacts in terms of the feedback that you're getting and how it can impact certain opportunities that you're working on.

Riley Martin:                                          

Yeah. I love all of that. You've had so many great ideas about how to structure win-loss program, about how you can leverage those advantages of having a third party. And I really appreciate all the insight that you've shared with us today.

Amanda Ladd:                                          

Absolutely. It's my pleasure, Riley.

Riley Martin:                                        

So thanks everyone for attending WinLossWeek. I hope you have a great day.

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