It’s a question that I’m regularly asked by clients: “What is the value in win interviews?” Oftentimes, companies come to use win-loss analysis in search of the reasons why they’re losing deals. The assumption they make is that the answers will naturally be found in loss interviews. Although loss interviews do provide great insight, I advise clients not to discount the lessons learned in their wins.
Consider the following reasons why gold lies within the details of your successes:
- Your win interview is your competitor’s loss interview—It’s amazing just how much a buyer will share about the company they did not select with the company that they did select. The list can stretch from product gaps, to market perception issues, to sales deficiencies. While vendors likely already know why they were selected, it’s this deep and valuable competitive insight that will enable them to continue winning.
- Sales doesn’t always deserve a pat on the back—So, there you are, celebrating a win. You’re praising the sales lead and capturing their best practices … but hold on a minute. Wins don’t always mean that the sales process was stellar. In win interviews, we always ask the question, “What advice do you have for the sales team to help them with future opportunities?” It’s rare when the buyer doesn’t share some golden nugget to help a salesperson improve. Occasionally, you’ll come across a buyer who bought from a vendor in spite of an awful sales process. As you imagine, those interviews are quite eye-opening and allow a sales manager to quickly address issues that may affect future business.
- Wins don’t always mean your solution is a perfect fit—So, you won a deal! That must mean your offering is perfect, right? Oh, if only that were true. Most win interviews we conduct delve into the reasons for the selection, but also seek to identify product gaps. By asking, “If you were the head of product development, where would you invest in the offering?” you can quickly identify what that buyer believes to be the greatest deficiencies and greatest opportunities.
- Find out what’s working and what’s not—Did a site visit seal the deal? What about that reference call you worked to hard to set-up? What was the turning point for your buyer? What was that “one key thing” that led your new client to select you? Do more of that!
There you have it! Focusing on the different aspects of your sales success stories can uncover just as many important opportunities as the details in your losses. After all, it’s called a win-loss program, not just a loss program, for a reason, isn’t it?