Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Do You Leverage Win-Loss Analysis to Improve Marketing and Sales Productivity?

As Henry Ford said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently". However, how many of us actually take the time to learn from our mistakes as part of continuous improvement in our customer creation process? No doubt it can be difficult to admit where we have made mistakes, especially if we've lost money in the process! In fact, based upon a recent IDC survey, only 55% of large BtoB organizations have a formal sales win-loss analysis program in place. You may be thinking that you're one of the lucky companies in that list, feeling comfy with the fact that your sales reps are required to check a box in your sales force automation(SFA) system when they lose a deal to indicate the reason for that loss. Best-in-class players in this space will tell you that you're only kidding yourself into believing whatever the sales reps input into the SFA, if they even use your SFA.

If you're in sales operations, then you're in an ideal position to initiate a win-loss program.  If you're in marketing, then you're in a great position to increase your value add to sales by helping drive a win-loss program in collaboration with sales operations.  Here are a few of the things that best-in-class companies are doing as part of their win-loss analysis process:
  • Quarterly review calls (or even weekly) to review select wins and losses (a fact-finding culture is key here, and not fault-finding)
  • Roundtable sessions to discuss wins and losses, including root cause analysis and associated corrective actions
  • Review of specific wins and losses with the buyer, conducted by an objective team either from within the organization, or ideally, by a 3rd party
A couple of key guidance points in setting up your win-loss analysis process:
  1. Establish accountability for this process. (apply a RACI model and ensure global continuity; tap into your Sales Excellence team, marketing's data analytics team, and your field marketing organization)
  2. Develop, execute and govern the process (collect data from multiple sources, ensure an objective party conducts the analysis, and focus on "fact-finding", not "fault-finding")
  3. Deliver actionable recommendations as a result of this process. (e.g., better identify the buying team as part of account-based marketing activities; improve allocation of sales support resources to target the best opportunities (check out industry benchmarks); rapidly communicate competitive insight to your sales team through social collaboration)

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