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Win Loss Analysis and Customer Satisfaction Research
Win Loss Analysis Program Implementation Considerations
The first decision most companies must make when they are preparing to introduce a Win-Loss Analysis program is whether the program will be designed and administered by internal resources or by an independent third party.
These are the questions related to Win Loss Analysis needing consideration before such a decision can be made:
What is the best way to obtain candid, unbiased and independent sales win loss related information?
What is the best way to ensure that respondents feel comfortable with the process?
Is there enough in-house experience and expertise to ensure that the program will be properly designed and executed?
Finally, is there the capacity in-house to aggregate, analyze and report the Win Loss data that is generated so it becomes actionable?
Though some organizations manage their Win-Loss Analysis internally, in most cases such programs are more effective when they are externally administered. Anova Consulting Group, a leader in Win-Loss Analysis, employs specialized market research professionals with finely honed interviewing skills that enable them to generate insights that might not otherwise come to light.
Another determination that companies must make when designing a Win Loss Analysis program is the scope of new business situations that will be analyzed. Depending on the volume of deal flow, it may or may not be necessary to conduct an extensive debrief for every sales situation. Many companies, for instance, focus their Win Loss Analysis programs on their largest and most profitable clients and accounts. Additionally, companies must decide which products and services will be the focus of the Win-Loss Analysis program. Will the program primarily analyze how the company is performing and distributing its existing offerings in its traditional markets, or will it also seek information that might enable it to expand into new markets or segments? Will the program have a particular geographic focus, or will it focus on situations involving certain competitors?
Once a decision has been made to move forward with a Win Loss Analysis program, the next crucial step in the process is ensuring executive level buy-in and support. Without the endorsement and active sponsorship of senior management, a Win Loss Analysis program is likely to produce sub-optimal results. In building executive support, advocates of a Win-Loss Analysis program must clearly and concisely present a compelling cost-benefit analysis – one that emphasizes that such programs can have a decidedly positive impact on virtually every aspect of the product/service development and delivery process. A successfully implemented Win Loss Analysis program can cross-fertilize and strengthen linkages between a company’s sales, marketing, product/service development, technology, client/customer service, operations and pricing functions. Consequently, the person or people who oversee these aspects of the company’s business must understand the Win Loss program’s purpose, recognize the level of mutual commitment that is required for it to be successful, and devote the time, resources and energy necessary to impress upon the organization the importance of Win Loss to the company’s long-term prospects.
As part of the organizational engagement process, one very important message that needs to be delivered is that a Win-Loss program’s primary purpose is to serve as a learning tool – one that is focused on driving continuous improvement across the organization. Some companies do use Win Loss techniques to evaluate and promote performance improvements within their sales teams. However, in such situations, it is important to ensure that the Win Loss Analysis program is not positioned or perceived as a “witch hunt” or a mechanism for retribution, but rather as a method for enhancing productivity across key product delivery and servicing functions.
Finally, companies wishing to implement a Win Loss Analysis program must decide the types of questions they would most like to ask their prospects. Most Win-Loss Programs are designed to not only uncover why a company won or lost business in a particular sales situation, but also to shed light on the competitive dynamics that defined the sales process. Common questions include: How did our sales team perform relative to others? What actions on the part of our team and people made positive or negative impressions? How did the content and quality of our presentation and sales materials compare? How well did we differentiate our products and services from the competition? To what degree did we emphasize messages and behaviors relating to our service ethic that resonated with the decision makers and influencers? Did we fully and adequately address issues and concerns raised by the prospective client during the needs analysis portion of the sales process? Were we too aggressive or not aggressive enough in supporting the prospect’s decision-making process? Finally, what would we have to do differently in the future to win this business if we had another shot at it?