Direct Marketing Article
10 Benefits of Seller-Generated Win/Loss
By Rick Marcet
Your business has a rich source of business intelligence hiding in plain
view. It's an undiscovered goldmine of information that can help salespeople
know how best to approach their customers and beat the competition. By
tapping into this same information source, marketing will be more informed
on what campaigns are producing results, and product development teams can
be tuned in to near real-time customer feedback. Executives can benefit by
having more clear insight into business risks. And the list of beneficiaries
Who holds this valuable information? Your sales force. You can capture it by
using a seller-generated win/loss review process--a system for documenting
and organizing all the factors that contributed to either the win or the
loss. Win/loss reviews embrace the concept of improvement through continuous
learning, feedback, and knowledge sharing. Here are 10 advantages of
adopting this method for capturing business intelligence at your company.
Results in more wins for salespeople.
Salespeople benefit from this process by having access to the knowledge base
of insights composed of other seller entries, and applying those actionable
insights to their active opportunities. A simple search query allows sellers
to select specific criteria about past deals that most closely match their
current situation, and then create a personalized report, helping them avoid
tactical errors and imitate successful approaches.
Recaptures sales where the seller disengaged.
Recorded details about the point in the sales cycle at which the seller
walks away offer a wealth of information that sales managers can use to
identify the problem and formulate a new approach. These include factors
such as pipeline management competence, team discipline, a customer's frozen
budget, a customer's shifted priorities, cultural missteps, and a company's
inability to deliver a solution, among many others.
Enables proposals of higher quality to existing customers and prospects.
Since customers are looking for their business partners and suppliers to
bring them new and innovative ideas, instead of solutions that address only
existing business challenges, win/loss review data enables the company to
compile a rich library of innovative ideas and solutions that provide
competitive differentiation, enriched and optimized with the collective
knowledge of prior experiences.
Helps executives provide more reliable guidance to investors and make
better strategic decisions.
By not only knowing when your sales teams will close their deals, but also
why they're winning and losing deals, executives can make more reliable
forecasts that drive guidance to investors. And they will make strategic
decisions that accurately factor in what the sales teams are experiencing on
a day-to-day basis.
Creates a sales process that's scalable and not personality driven.
Relying too heavily on personal relationships to win deals and grow the
business does not scale well and can lead to a false sense of sound sales
and marketing strategies or incorrect assessment of capabilities. An
overreliance on relationships may actually mask mediocrity and
underperformance in other areas. Using win/loss review data helps uncover
hidden areas of the business that could be improved.
Creates a strong bridge between sales and marketing.
Seller-generated win/loss reviews offer an important feedback loop to gauge
the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Drawing from the most
comprehensive, up-to-date, relevant data possible, marketing can produce
customer case studies, customer references, playbooks, and a host of
assorted materials that help sales teams. And importantly, salespeople feel
valued and "listened to" by marketing.
Captures data and knowledge from salespeople - before they leave.
It's well known that you will lose 5-10% of your salespeople to attrition.
Win/loss reviews extract their knowledge and experience immediately, and
that valuable information is stored and becomes the property of your
company. It won't walk out the door when they do.
Creates a collaborative bridge between sales and product development
Real-time reports from the sales front, when analyzed, can expose a
disturbing trend with a product, such as a design flaw or other deficiency,
perhaps one that is found in the majority of losses. Sales teams appreciate
that their feedback is being heard. Combined, the collection of insights
from salespeople can result in faster and better product improvements, and
more competitive and innovative products and services.
Builds a library of information for multiple uses and users.
The living, growing body of business intelligence provides a company with
countless ways to repurpose it. Some examples: identifies candidates to
nominate for sales awards; provides raw data for white papers and case
studies; makes reports of all kinds easy to assemble; provides a databank of
information pertaining to the buying behaviors in foreign countries and
multiple cultures; and offers a rich source of data about leading
Interfaces beautifully with technology use and social media.
Technology and social media are shaping business culture and enabling
actionable intelligence to proliferate on many devices and form factors
across a broad set of stakeholders. Win/loss reviews and social software are
a perfect match, and the "coolness" of using social-networking-like
interfaces actually encourages sellers to participate without the need for
stringent policy enforcement.
About the Author:
Rick Marcet is Program Director for the World-Class Selling initiative at
Microsoft Corporation, and a frequent speaker worldwide on sales excellence.
In Win/Loss Reviews: A New Knowledge Model for Competitive Intelligence
(Wiley, 2011), he presents a blueprint of his award-winning win/loss review
model used at Microsoft and being adopted in many of today's highest
performing organizations, with stunning results.