In a recent new client onboarding session with a midsize enterprise software vendor, the CMO stated,

“We have found that, when we lose a deal, the sales group tends to point to price as the reason, but we suspect there is more to it than that.”

Although price can definitely play a role in buyer decisions, what DoubleCheck Research has found from hundreds of buyer interviews is that price alone isn’t generally the root cause of a lost deal. That CMO was right. More often than not, there is more behind the loss than price.

When sales says a deal was lost due to price, further analysis through win-loss interviews finds buyers who say:

  • We didn’t understand the value of the solution to our business, so we didn’t think it was worth the price.”
  • “We couldn’t see how the solution was different from competitive products, so we just went for the one with the lowest price.”
  • “We didn’t really understand what the ultimate, long-term price of the solution would be, since the vendor’s business model and ROI weren’t clear.”
  • “We felt like the pre-sales support we received wasn’t great, so we didn’t think the solution was worth the extra price.”
  • “We couldn’t get all the features we needed at the price tier we wanted, so we chose a product with different packaging.”

These statements make it crystal clear—price can get blamed for issues that are more accurately related to vendor business model, the ability to articulate pricing and value, competitive differentiation, product positioning, and quality of service. Price is generally one important factor to buyers, but it’s less important than finding a truly valuable and useful solution that will have a positive business impact. Too often, price wasn’t the issue behind the losses. Matching a solution to a particular buyer’s requirements was.

Win-loss interviews can help identify how that mismatch occurred. Did the product really not meet the buyer’s needs, or did the sales team not understand the buyer’s requirements well enough to position the solution to meet them? Or did a competitive vendor just do it more successfully?

What If It Really Was About Price?

Of course, there are times when deals truly are lost because of price, especially in markets that are more commodified. But vendors rarely want to be in that race to the bottom on price, and so unearthing the attributes that buyers truly value can be even more important in those situations.
In a very price-competitive market, you need to know what will make your solution truly stand out from the crowd—reasons other than price. Understanding why you won via win interviews can help inform this. When customers didn’t see price as an issue, where did they find value? How did the ROI and positioning resonate with them? Truly understanding those factors can help ensure that price takes a backseat to the value of your solution.

If you’re interested in understanding more about the role price plays in your win-loss outcomes, we’d love to hear from you!

Did Sales Really Lose the Deal Because of Price?