The simplest way to find out how you won over or lost a customer is to ask them.
A win/loss analysis reveals why and how a sales opportunity turned into a new customer (or not). Making the most out of this feedback, by creating a report, is crucial to improving future sales processes.
What is a Win/Loss Analysis?
A win/loss analysis is the process of studying past business deals in order to generate valuable insights about your company’s selling practices. The insights garnered from this type of analysis can be instrumental in growing your business and increasing revenue.
It’s usually assumed that pricing is the most important factor in purchasing decisions, but it’s not always the case. Finding out what other aspects played a part in a win or loss can ultimately give an advantage over a competitors’ sales tactics.
Steps to Conduct a Win/Loss Analysis Report
When organizing win/loss analysis reports, it’s important to give flexibility to customers. Let them take the wheel in scheduling and medium choice.
Here are some steps that can help you get closer to determining the most accurate value of your product from customers:
Step 1: Decide Who Will Conduct Your Interviews and Which Companies to Interview.
It’s considered best practice to have a third-party organizations conduct win/loss analysis interviews on your company’s behalf for several reasons:
- A third-party has no emotional investment in your products or selling tactics and they’ll be able to provide unbiased feedback.
- Lost prospects and new customers will be more comfortable sharing their unfiltered opinions with a third-party.
- The interviewer will be a well-trained professional. They’ll ask the right questions, retain the right information, and deliver the results to your company in an easily digestible format.
If you don’t have the resources to hire an outside vendor, you can, of course, conduct the interviews in-house. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to choose interviewers who were not immediately involved with the sales opportunity in question.
Whether you conduct two interviews or 100, it’s important that you speak to an equal mix of wins and losses. Focusing on one group of prospects over the other will give you skewed results.
Step 2: Develop Your Win/Loss Analysis Questions.
If you use a third-party vendor to conduct your win/loss analysis interviews, they will likely prepare their own list of generic questions.
Regardless, you should consider coming up with a few questions specific to your industry that an outside company may not think of. Here are a few sample questions to consider:
- What product or features were you initially interested in? Was it a good fit from the start?
- What pain point or problem were you trying to solve? What was your initial perception of this company’s ability to solve that problem?
- Why did you decide to purchase from this company? Or, why didn’t you?
- How many people were involved in the decision making process? What does your decision-making process usually look like?
- What was your perception of the sales team? How was their sales pitch? Did they seem knowledgeable? Were they helpful? What would have improved your perception of the sales team?
- How did your perception of our company and products change throughout the buying process? What made it better? And what made it worse?
It’s important to note that these are just suggestions. We don’t recommend using all of them — as win/loss analysis interviews should never last more than 30 minutes.
You want to be respectful of an interviewee’s time and leave them with a favorable opinion of your company.
Step 3: Schedule and Conduct Your Interviews.
Interviews should be scheduled no later than two months after the deal closes or falls through. You want the buying process to be fresh in the company’s memory. Prior to the interview, prepare the company by explaining the purpose of the conversation, get their consent to record the conversation, and even provide them with a few sample questions.
As previously mentioned, win/loss analysis interviews should be short and sweet. Do your research and ask only the questions that pertain to that particular prospect or buyer.
Step 4: Analyze Results & Present Your Findings.
If you worked with an outside company to conduct your analysis they will likely do this part for you. If not, go through your recordings and notes to identify common patterns.
Were there complaints that the buying process took too long? Did companies note that your prices were their deciding factor? Does your competitor offer a unique feature that caused you to lose several deals? These are all important observations.
Remember to identify both strengths and weaknesses: point out any holes in the selling process or shortcomings in the products. Compile these thoughts — both the good and the bad — into a concise, easy-to-read format.
Regularly distribute the results of win/loss analyses to all departments within your company, not just sales. Marketing, product managers, engineers, and client services can also benefit from customer feedback.
Step 5: Incorporate Findings Into Future Sales, Products, and Campaigns.
Once you understand why you’re winning and losing deals, come up with a few action items to incorporate into future sales.
For example, if customers reported that your prices were better than the competition, the action item would be to highlight that selling point within upcoming sales calls and marketing campaigns.
The point is to use your strengths and weaknesses to develop a scalable process that produces more wins for your sales team.
Win/Loss Analysis Templates for Approaching Customers
How you approach customers for feedback can make or break your win/loss analysis. Be careful with what words you use! And remember — simplicity and flexibility.
Example for a Win
Hi [customer name]!
Thank you for choosing [our product], welcome to the [brand] team!
Your business is important to us, so we’re always working on ways to make what we’ve got even better for our customers. To help with that, we’d love to talk to you about what led you to choose us over others.
We’ll ask you a few questions, and the call will only take 5 minutes. If you’re interested, please let us know what time and date suits you best.
Thanks, [your name]
Example for a Loss
Hello [customer name],
Thank you for your interest in [our product], and I’m sorry to hear you went to a different company.
To help us learn and improve our chances of getting business, we’d love to hear about your buying journey with our team. This won’t be a call to sell to you, and your feedback will help immensely.
The call will take just 5 minutes at whichever time and date that suits you.
Thank you very much,
Final Considerations for Win/Loss Analysis Reports
Creating and implementing an effective feedback process gives an industry advantage in better understanding customer buying behavior. Win/loss analysis reports can be a major eye-opener into customer perspectives in purchasing decisions.
The data gathered from win/loss analyses are not meant to just sit in your hard drive — use it to up your sales game.