Why Win-Loss Programs Are Just Too Hard

Why Win-Loss Programs Are Just Too Hard

According to a recent Gartner study, only 18% of organizations have a formal win-loss program in place. The ones that do have seen a 15% to 30% increase in revenue. So, with results like these, why isn’t every company onboard?

The reason is because it’s simply too hard. The process, starting with identifying an interview target and then completing a single win-loss report, is long and arduous. A client recently asked me to outline our process and calculate the time it takes to generate a finished report. After doing a quick analysis of our last 50 reports, we determined that, once we receive an interview target and, assuming everything goes well, it takes about 12 hours and a village to complete a single report. That village includes the client’s primary salesperson, interviewee, scheduler, interviewer, transcriptionist, editor, and analyst.

For those who are up for the challenge of building a program internally, I have outlined our process below. But now, to the shameless plug—for those who want to reap the benefits without the heavy lifting, we would love to help.

Introducing the Pre-Meeting Survey

I recently asked the CMO of a midsize retailer if he would be open to completing a pre-meeting survey prior to a first-time meeting. Not only did he answer with a resounding, “Yes, I would appreciate it,” but went on to share that “five or six questions wouldn’t likely do the job. It would need to be much longer.”

The CMO shared how often he participates in sales calls where the sales representative knows nothing about his business. He pointed out that, when an executive accepts a meeting, he or she is “hoping” that it will be valuable. Unfortunately, many of the meetings prove to be a waste of time. So, it’s only natural that an executive will participate in an effort to improve his or her odds by answering, for example, a set of smart, pointed questions prior to the meeting.

A pre-meeting survey has significant benefits for both parties:

Step 1: Interview targets identified

Step 2: Internal communication

  • Program manager alerts salesperson and provides external communication instructions.

Step 3: External communication

  • Salesperson emails interview target and copies scheduler.
  • Interview target responds favorably.

Step 4: Scheduling

  • Scheduler provides data/time options.
  • Scheduler provides link to online survey.
  • Interview target selects best time.

Step 5: Invite

  • Scheduler sets up private conference bridge.
  • Scheduler sends meeting invite.

Step 6: Interview preparation

  • Interviewer researches interview target and company.
  • Interviewer reviews online survey response.

Step 7: Interview

  • Interviewer conducts and records interview.

Step 8: Transcription

  • Interviewer sends recording to transcriptionist.
  • Transcriptionist transcribes interview.
  • Interviewer compares completed transcription with recording for quality purposes.

Step 9: Editing—Round 1

  • Editor edits content to ensure interviewee responses are clear and concise.
  • Editor organizes content to align with a standard set of report categories and questions.

Step 10: Analyze

  • Analyst reviews edited interview and online survey content for key findings and recommendations.
  • Analyst writes executive summary, including key findings and recommendations, and sends to editor for review.

Step 11: Editing—Round 2

  • Editor edits key findings and recommendations section.

Step 12: Format report

  • Program manager reviews final content, formats final report, and submits to client.
Ryan is the founder of DoubleCheck Research a win-loss analysis firm focused on helping solution providers improve their win rates by turning buyer insights into competitive advantage. Having devoted more than 15 years in the research and advisory space working with leading retail and manufacturing companies, Ryan is no stranger to enterprise B2B buyers. At Gartner, he served as Area Vice President, Supply Chain Sales, where he directed a team of 34 field supply chain account executives and managers. Ryan and his team were responsible for servicing over half of the company’s global supply chain business. Prior to Gartner, Ryan served as Vice President of Retail & Manufacturing at AMR Research where he headed a team responsible for new business generation and client management. It was here, during an analyst call with a frustrated CIO, that he first recognized the gap between the executive’s buying process and the provider’s sales approach. After witnessing this scenario play out time and again, DoubleCheck was born.


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