Most organizations love the idea of a win-loss program. They imagine a process by which they can better understand their buyers’ evaluation and decision-making approaches, track the effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts, and uncover useful insights about the competition.
As advertised, leading win-loss programs provide all of that and more. However, their effectiveness and impact vary by organization. A number of variables determine program success. Executive-level ownership and participation, sales leadership endorsement and sales team accountability, and a strong and influential internal program manager make a world of difference.
Assuming all of these things are in place, the most successful programs are the ones that take immediate and measurable action on the insights gained by following these four steps:
Prioritize actions—Win-loss programs yield a lot of great feedback and suggested actions, so much so that it’s nearly impossible and counterproductive to follow each lead. Those who really understand the value of the program also understand the importance of prioritizing the suggested actions. Often, they will do so by asking themselves:
- Which of these actions is aligned with our corporate goals and objectives?
- Which of these actions will make the greatest short- and long-term impact?
- Which of these actions will help to address an issue that has the potential to knock us off course and negatively impact our business?
Set baseline metrics—Once an action has been prioritized, it’s important to set a baseline metric. This metric will be used later to measure the success of the action taken. The questions to ask are:
- What metric can we use to measure the impact of the action we are about to take?
- Using that metric, where are we today?
Take action—Now that the action has been identified and a baseline metric has been established, it’s time to move on it. Aside from a baseline metric, successful actions have an owner, a timeline, and accountability. Before taking action, the following questions must be asked:
- Who is going to own this action?
- How will this person report on the progress associated with the action?
- By what date will this action need to take place?
- On what date and in what forum will the owner report on the completed action?
Measure—Now that the action, either in its entirety or in part, has been completed, it’s time to measure once again. Here are the questions to ask:
- When is the right time to measure again?
- How does our metric compare today to when we first took action?
- Besides the action taken, were there other factors that impacted the metric?
This simple approach to taking action and measuring results is the biggest difference between good programs and great programs.