Why Product Marketing Should Own Win-Loss Analysis + Helpful Tips for Building a Successful Program

Transcript

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Welcome to this session of WinLossWeek. The world's largest online event, dedicated to Win-Loss analysis. My name is Braydon Anderson and this event is hosted by Clozd. We'd like to thank all of our partners for their contribution to making this event such a success. The title of this session is, Why Product Marketing Should Own Win-Loss Analysis, plus some Helpful Tips for Building a Successful Program. Today we're joined by Brittani Grabell and Neeharika Nagisetty. Brittani is an experienced product marketing manager. In her current role, Brittani is responsible for win-loss analysis, competitive intelligence, and sales enablement. During her time at Billtrust, she has laid the foundation for former win-loss program in assisting the leaders in making better decisions. Most recently, Brittani is an incoming MBA student at Chicago Booth. Neeharika is currently the VP of product marketing is based out of Denver, Colorado. She has pretty much spent her career thus far building product marketing strategies and teams to lead technology products in the market. Brittani and Neeharika, thanks so much for joining us here today.

Neeharika Nagis:                                  

Thanks for having us.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Let's dive into this conversation. I'm really excited to talk about this topic of kind of the best ways to really select a win-loss vendor. So just as we get started here, maybe tell us a little bit about Billtrust and what you both do there specifically yourselves.

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Sure. So I could take this first. So pretty much just to give some background, Billtrust is a financial technology company which provides automated accounts receivable solutions for a bunch of different functional areas of the order to cash suite. So for example, credit decisioning and monitoring, invoice delivery, payment capture, cash application collections, and so on. And pretty much our mission is really to accelerate cash flow for our customers and also improve operational efficiency in a way that is both flexible and while also providing an integrated cloud-based solution set. So that's a little bit of the background on Billtrust and what we do and our true goal as an organization. My responsibility specifically as Braydon had mentioned, falls into competitive intelligence and win-loss analysis. And so that's where I spend a lot of my time at Billtrust in terms of expanding the program and growing insights.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

Thanks, Brittani. I just wanted to add to the introduction. So in the spirit of sharing what we do, like Braydon said, [inaudible]. I joined Billtrust a little over a year ago to head of product marketing. And like most of, you know, in product marketing, you're kind of focused on taking new products to market or introducing products to market or making sure those products are successful in market. And Brittani plays a key role and what she just mentioned was a key function of what we do in product marketing is keeping track of competition, keeping track of why we win, why we lose so that we can optimize a go-to market strategies.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Awesome. So, and I'm sure this is a big part of what your role is, but I'm curious why did you originally decide to do win-loss analysis? You know, what were you trying to achieve?

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Yeah, I think there's different point of views, which we may get to in terms of what overall we were looking for from both my standpoint and Nee's standpoint. However, I think that really the big component of it was really understanding our customer pain points. We are a company that absolutely takes pride in listening to our customers, the feedback that they have, and really implementing that feedback to make positive change for our customers and for as a whole uniquely, as well as uniquely, but also really for the organization moving forward. And so this was a key form of doing that, really having transparency into the buyer decision-making process, as well as post-decision input. We put so much resource and time when it comes to the sales cycle. And so we figure why not put that little extra time into really understanding from the buyer's point of view specifically what had happened and to gain insight from that.

There's also other areas of course, that are strategic in nature, such as increasing win rates. That one's pretty obvious as well as really understanding the key dimensions that we're looking at when it comes to our themes and trends and providing recommendations from there, but also on a tactical level. So learning about our competition, as Neeharika said, as well as improving effort when it comes to sales enablement and how we can guide that type of material. So there's a lot on, I'd say both the tactical and strategic level. I'm not sure if there's anything else, Nee that you want to add to that.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

I think that was a great Brittani. I couldn't agree more, fundamentally I think all of us agree from the words win-loss. We're trying to understand why we win and why we lose. I think all of us are striving for better win rates.

But when you think about it holistically, the reason we want to do this is to make sure that we are successful in market. We are validating our go-to-market strategies and making sure that we are headed in the right direction with the right strategy. We want to make sure that, and the market is the right test of everything. So the other ones who would tell us if we are headed in the right direction, the approach is right. What we're saying in fact is the right pitch and all of that good stuff, which ultimately translates into tactics like sales enablement. So the reasons I would say are endless on why we should be doing win-loss.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. Well, and you bring up a good point about some of these different teams, like you mentioned, the sales team, and obviously, they care so much about win-loss, which leads to the question of, why do you feel like it was on your team to lead doing win-loss? Like, do you think that product marketing should be the team that owns running win-loss?

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

You know, in old transparency win-lost, I've seen sit in different teams, it can sit in product marketing, it can sit in [inaudible] operations considered, sales enablement. The different teams who can own this as product marketers, I would vouch for the fact that the product marketers have a better view and insight into the market. The ones who keep track of market trends, compete, where are we headed? And also the team responsible for contributing largely towards the go-to-market strategies. So fundamentally win-loss kind of helps drive those insights and helps dictate the decisions that feed into some of these go-to-market strategies. So the private market is, I would say are best equipped to influence.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Hmm. Yeah. Great point. Anything you would add there, Brittani?

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Yeah, I totally agree. I think that there's a huge disclaimer here, which goes along with what Nee just said, but pretty much, I think that it makes sense for win-loss analysis to sit within product marketing, but it's also a huge cross-functional effort. And so working with teams like sales and product, as well as customer success and so on, I think is really huge and will greatly increase the benefit from a program like this. However, having it actually sit within product marketing, I think makes the ultimate sense to me, as Nee had mentioned, we're thought leaders in a way we create a lot of thought leadership. We're understanding our market, we're understanding our buyers. And so doing that at a level that goes beyond what we're hearing internally, but to what we're hearing externally, just shapes that to a whole full extent. And we're able to then disseminate those findings throughout the organization and to our larger market.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And I'm curious when Billtrust first started doing win-loss, did you always have plans to outsource your program to a third party?

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

So that's an interesting one. Yeah. So prior to my arrival at Billtrust, I had noticed when I arrived that there was some interviews that were done internally, however, as you know, would probably be assumed there was definitely limit there when it comes to scalability and reach just due to internal bandwidth. I think that what I was provided with the responsibility of win-loss analysis from that point on, I had always intended to have this component outsource. We do also have an internal win-loss program that we balanced. And like I had said previously, I think it's really important to have an internal component where you're hearing from your stakeholders and what they believe as well as what you're hearing from your prospects and customers externally. And so, I had always planned on that, but prior to my arrival, I am not sure if that was in the works.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Gotcha.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

Gives our prospects a chance to give unbiased view on why we wonder why we lost. So it's completely unbiased when it's done by a third party compared to us doing our research ourselves. So yeah, there's a lot that comes out when somebody else is doing their interview on it. Yeah. Doing the research.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. Yeah. We've definitely seen that. Right. Like, it's funny because you think that I know the products better. I know our solution better. Like I should be able to do an interview way better than maybe this other company, but at the end of the day, when you introduce things like bias and priority and all these other fires that come up as part of, you know, specifically a product marketer, it just, it's hard to keep it going. And it's hard to make sure you're getting everything you can from the buyer like you guys said. So I love those perspectives.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

Hmm. Outside in perspective, because the more we do ourselves, it's an inside out view of what we think we are losing openings.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah, totally. So, in addition to that, I'm curious, like any other things that you would see as kind of the benefits of working with a third party, anything you would add there?

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Yeah. I mean, I think that's the biggest one is the taking away the bias. But also, I feel like there's tension, especially if it's a lost opportunity and a prospect, our customers providing directly to the company that they said no to that feedback, there might be a little bit of hesitation there and we, of course, want the full transparency in order for us to improve and improve for our customers. So that's the biggest one. I think as I had mentioned before, scalability, it's very difficult to do that internally without, the automation in house as well as, without sometimes bandwidth, depending on how many resources are available. But I think the other aspect is the consulting aspect that a win-loss vendor provides in terms of offering a unique view on recommendations and actual insights moving forward. Whereas we can take that away and we can understand that, but hearing it from another point of view gives us a more well-rounded idea of what we should do moving forward.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. That's interesting. I'm really curious what advice you both would give other product marketers, then maybe evaluating potential partners for win-loss analysis?

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Absolutely. And I think maybe from, we can do this from both points of view, which will overlap and possibly differentiate as well. But for me, when running a program and looking for a win-loss vendor to partner with. I think one of the most important things was, and we're very recent to this experience as we are going through it right now, of course, but really taking the time to understand the vendor that you're working with and the compatibility there, because there is so much frequent interaction and understanding that there'll be a true partner to you. I think as you know, with any partnership huge. But I think that's something that's top of mind to mention. I think that one of the really big things too is for an organization such as ours, we are very agile and how quickly we move and make updates to our products and our processes.

And so having a program that really has a quick scheduling rate, has a quick turnaround time in terms of the interviews, so that we're able to keep in line with the updates we're making in real-time, or as much as possible in real-time. That is a really big part of how we can make actual change, positive change in a faster way before we're already working on something and possibly not incorporating the feedback that we need to. A few other things really are, as we mentioned before, you know, win-loss loss analysis is really cross-functional collaborative program. It should not just be within one department. It should be possibly one department's responsible for it such as product marketing, but it should be something that's visible to all areas of the organization. And so really having something, a platform that's intuitive, easy to use, easy to roll out, easy to integrate with other platforms you might use such as Salesforce, that's really huge, the research methodology itself.

So being flexible when it comes to the interview script and being able to roll with what the prospect or customer is saying and ask questions that will actually add value to the feedback that we're getting. I think that's really important. I think that adds a lot, especially when we're trying to gather insights and understand from our point of view, compared to competition or compared to the market. So I think that's really huge. And then I think the last thing for me, which is really, really important is having a partner that has an idea of innovation moving forward. Has an idea of what's on their roadmap and how they're going to keep innovating with you so that you know, that there's a path in terms of the continuous improvement that you can receive from a program like this. So that's quite a few, but you know, those are some of my top tips that I would say when you're looking for a win-loss vendor to partner with.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. And I'm curious, Neeharika, you know, Brittani's maybe a little bit more in the day-to-day of the win-loss program and what she found valuable. So I'm curious as a senior-level VP of product marketing, are there overlap between what you were potentially looking for and what advice would you give there?

Neeharika Nagis:                                  

Yes, that's a great question. And like Brittani rightly mentioned, there's so many reasons and not just, how do you leverage, how you get started or, how you use this program. So for anybody in product marketing or any other department who's thinking about getting started with the win-loss program, a few parts that we could share is fundamentally, everybody gets started with like, Hey, I want to know how to win more. And that's fundamentally the reason why everybody starts with like, I want to run a win-loss program because I want to win better. I want to win more. I want deal velocity. So that's, aside from that, there's so many other things that we should be thinking about as not just product marketers, but anybody interested in win-loss is how do you support the strategic roadmap?

You know, all of the insights that come out of these win-loss analysis actually directly feeds into what we should be thinking about in the long term. You know, that's how you can influence a strategic roadmap decision. This also helps us in the long run, it gets us thinking and makes us more conscious about market trends, movements in market trends in general, not just by competitors, but also customers. What are customers looking for? What are customers wanting and what are our competitors actually offering and which direction are they moving? And so it gets us thinking about, are we in line with the market trends and movements that they've adopted you and they're seeking, or how far away are we from all of that. Can basically kind of validate our right to win as a company. The other thing I would say is largely what comes out of our win-loss analysis is a determination on where else they may want to make an investment.

All of these insights, if taken seriously kind of dictate further research into key areas, there could be further research into a specific segment, a specific go-to-market strategy. Do we need to invest in certain areas which may dictate, what kind of research and what kind of investment do we want to make in all of these areas? So that's a key confident of what comes out of these win-loss programs. Ultimately I think everybody interested in win-loss is looking to how do we influence revenue forecasting in a more accurate manner. And this kind of helps feed into some of that thinking. And decision-making, so there's a lot that comes out of win-loss it's more than just, how can we win better, but contributes towards a long-term strategic planning initiative. So yeah. Think about all of these things when you're evaluating and picking your render or wanting to get started with a function like this.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

Yeah. I love it. Great advice from both of you really good insights there. Well, this has been awesome. A lot of good stuff that we've been able to learn from you today. So just the last question I'd love to ask is are there any other tips or advice that you'd give to others that are your shoes?

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

Get started? If you haven't already.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

That's a great one.

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

That is a great one.

Braydon Anderson:                                    

I think people are too scared too often and it's got to be perfect or it's got to be X, Y, and Z, but I think you're right. Just get started.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

And be open to whatever comes out of the win-loss analysis. Just be open to, keep an open mind.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah.

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Yeah, I agree. Totally. And I think one thing jumping off of both of those ideas, which is very related is knowing that it'll take some time to get a program like this running. Of course, it's more streamlined if you work with a vendor then internally most of the time, but it still is going to take time. It's going to get, take getting used to, and there's going to be changes. Even when you get up and running, there's still going to be changes that are going to need to be made. That's I think how the most valuable type of program would work because as what you're looking for changes that would affect the program. But once that happens, I think that the value that it brings through results to both internal stakeholders and what the customers need and what they're looking for is it can't be matched in any way. So I think that's a huge one just to be open to that.

Braydon Anderson:                                      

Yeah. That's such, such good insights. I love it. Well, this has been so great. We want to thank both Neeharika and Brittani for their time today and for their insights and sharing this great information on their win-loss program and their tips and best practices. And so thanks to everyone for joining today's session and hope you all have a great day.

Neeharika Nagis:                                    

Thanks for having us.

Brittani Grsbel:                                    

Thank you.

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