Companies invest considerable amounts of time, energy, and resources into their win-loss programs, whether conducted in-house or by an independent third party, with the intent of deriving valuable information on how to improve their sales processes, sharpen their marketing efforts, and differentiate product and service lines. But when those win/loss reports are finally delivered, where is the best place for program leaders to begin to drive improvement efforts?
In this post, we’re assuming that each of your individual win/loss analysis deal reports includes a set of recommended action items. And if they do, program leaders can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of data collected and number of action steps suggested. Without specific guidance on where or how to start, it may be hard to realize the greatest program benefits.
DoubleCheck has crafted the following plan to help you maximize the value of your win-loss program. Granted, there are other ways to increase the value of your win-loss findings, but to get you started, here are five simple steps that can help.
Step 1: Collect Your Win-Loss Key Findings and/or Recommendations
The first step requires program leaders to do some vital prep work: gathering a set of win-loss reports that were conducted within a certain time period, and aggregating all the recommended action items into what we’ll call an action item longlist. Next, group each by category or business line—for example, sales, marketing, product, and/or competition.
Step 2: Distribute the Action Item Longlist to Key Stakeholders
Send the list to your stakeholders—that is, the functional leaders who hold strategic or influential roles within sales, marketing, product development, and/or competitive and market intelligence. The stakeholders should represent the categories or business lines highlighted in your action item longlist. Schedule a time when everyone can meet as a group, and ensure that your stakeholders review the list beforehand. Each stakeholder should come to that meeting prepared to discuss two to three of the recommended action items that they believe have the highest potential to positively impact your business.
Step 3: Meet as a Group and Select the Top 2 or 3 Action Items
At the meeting, write down each of the stakeholders’ top picks on a white board or flipchart. As a group, the stakeholders should discuss the reasons why they selected the ones that they did. Next, have them down-select from the collective list that was built at the beginning of the meeting to, again, the top two or three that they feel are most likely to drive positive results.
Step 4: Assign Task Owners, Timelines, and Metrics
Before closing the stakeholder meeting, ensure that the following have been assigned to the selected action items:
- Action Owners: Each action should include an owner. The action owner should be assigned by the member of the stakeholder group with which the action is aligned (that is, if the action is related to sales development, the sales leader stakeholder in group should assign the action to a member of their team). Ideally, the action owner will be a direct report of the stakeholder. It is the action owner’s responsibility to communicate back to the group the steps required to complete the action item and timelines. They are also responsible for providing updates and feedback to the stakeholder group on an agreed-upon schedule (for example, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly).
- Timelines: Define time frames in which the task owners are responsible for completing the action item. If the action item is broken down into a multi-step process, make sure to capture all of the details and schedule each step within the timeline.
- Metrics: Work with the stakeholders to define how success will be measured for each agreed-upon action item. It’s important that the goals set are achievable. It’s also important to select metrics that are actually measureable (e.g., client retention rates, pipeline growth, customer satisfaction, and Net Promoter Scores). Finally, make sure to set your metric baseline. It’s important to gauge where you are today so that you can compare with future results.
Step 5: Measure Your Results
You’ve defined your metrics, so now’s the time to calculate your results. Program managers should work with the task owners to inform appropriate members of staff (stakeholders, executive level) of the outcomes. Highlight the areas where value was achieved, as well as where expectations fell short. If necessary, revisit your metrics. Tweak away. Try again.
Follow this plan to refocus your win/loss program and to provide short- or long-term meaningful value. If you’d like to further discuss ways to improve your win/loss strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.