Most organizations conduct some form of win loss analysis but to what degree? It is no surprise that organizations who set clear, measurable goals achieve more success. What may be a surprise is that according to a recent Gartner study of 250 providers these organizations enjoy up to a 50% win rate advantage over those with a less formal approach. To determine where you stack-up, DoubleCheck Research’s win rate optimization maturity model outlines 11 areas that organizations should consider. In this article, we review area number one – Goal Setting.

Basic

Basic organizations have no formal post-decision feedback and analysis mechanism and, as such, no well-defined goals. When post-decision feedback is captured, it is typically by sales. One key challenge is that minimal salespeople collect feedback from the client. They instead provide their view of the situation. According to an industry study, “only 19% of salespeople set-up separate calls to perform a post-decision debrief with prospects.”  When calls are conducted, the opportunity to gather real feedback is often overshadowed in effort to address objections and influence the buyer to reconsider their positions and decisions.  In a recent discussion with DoubleCheck Research, the CIO of a $2B specialty retailer put it the following way. “I have stopped taking these calls from salespeople or their managers. What is positioned as a genuine effort to learn often turns into an emotionally driven debate.”  As a result, most buyers provide vague feedback and work to close the call without hurting the salesperson’s feelings.  If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most providers fall into this category.

Intermediate

This group of providers has a formal win loss analysis program in place and makes a concerted effort to capture post-decision feedback on a regular basis.  Information sources may include input from sales, a client web survey, and an occasional client interview. They have set program goals tied to activity including sample size (wins/losses) and data capture rates. The intermediates have also begun considering how post-decision feedback, acted upon, may influence revenue, win rates, and customer satisfaction. They recognize information is power and are diligent to share their findings with key organizational leaders. The challenge the intermediates face is that they often do not have true executive buy-in and lack power to hold people accountable for taking action. As a result, action is ad-hoc, and measuring the true benefit of their work is cumbersome.

Advanced

Advanced organizations take a comprehensive, consistent, and structured approach to win loss analysis. They are aware of the benefits and see their work in this area as a key competitive advantage. They set goals such as win rate and revenue improvement, deal size, retention rates, market share gains, and sales cycle time reduction. In addition to traditional quantitative data collection efforts, advanced programs apply a deep qualitative approach to better understand the mind of the buyer including their buying process, decision making process, business and personal drivers, and desired partner experience. This group has buy-in from executive management who hold their leadership team accountable for program success. Information is collected, analyzed, acted upon, tracked, and measured. The crowning jewel for advanced organizations is that they hold regular meetings to discuss findings, provide updates on actions taken, and track associated results. In addition, they do not stop at post-decision feedback collection but circle back with their clients formally post implementation to ensure that what was promised is what is being delivered.

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