How to Qualify Your Win/Loss Analysis Targets
(This article is written for those organizations that wish to move from Stage 2 to Stage 3 of the Win/Loss Program Maturity Model. See "Win/Loss Program Maturity Model: How to Map the Maturity of Your Win/Loss Program and Drive Actionable Results").
Who should you target for your win/loss analysis program? When deciding on interviewees, it's common for program managers to work through lists from their CRM system, but that's not always the best approach. Not only does this leave their win/loss research up to chance, but they also risk missing important targets. What if a loss wasn't closed out of the system? And where is the science behind their process? Instead, DoubleCheck recommends a more intelligent route to selecting suitable targets, which we'll outline here.
Work With Your Sales Team on Selection
Building a relationship with the sales leadership team is crucial for selecting successful targets. They have the deepest knowledge of target accounts, and, if you sit down with them on a quarterly or monthly basis, they can nominate recent wins and losses that are fresh in their minds. Regular meetings will encourage sales leadership to note suitable deals as they arise, in order to nominate them. Such regularity can also help to avoid long gaps between closure and interview, which is a plus, since this avoids fuzzy recall from interviewees.
Working with sales leadership to select targets is also important, since it reinforces the sales organization's co-ownership of the program by actively involving them in the process. This way, they're more likely to work openly with you, rather than feeling scrutinized. Not include them, however, and sales may close themselves off, contribute less, and only grudgingly adapt to necessary changes that result from your win/loss program findings.
Focus on Competitive, Advanced-Stage Deals
The more competitive the deals you target for win/loss analysis, the more insights you'll receive. And the same applies to late-stags deals, especially when it comes to losses. If your target went through a sales demo, for instance, then attended your company's conference and spoke with a client reference, then they've evaluated you via several routes, and can potentially provide richer feedback. The more they've experienced, the more they can share.
Sales leadership teams are often keen to nominate competitive, advanced-stage losses, since the resulting insights can add detail to their battle cards and help them close on future deals. So, keeping them aware of the preference can strengthen your win/loss data and motivate their input, as well as further achieve sales buy-in.
Select Interviewees Based on Their Knowledge of the Decision Process
When it comes to targeting interviewees, don't assume the most senior person within the buyer's organization is your best fit. The right candidate will have led the effort on the buyer's side, and worked closely with your teams throughout the process, making them the person most likely to be able to comment on all facets of the evaluation and ultimate decision. This ability is largely unrelated to seniority.
It is all too easy to make mistakes when qualifying targets for win/loss analysis. But by working with sales leadership on selection, focusing on competitive and advanced-stage deals, and recruiting interviewees based on their knowledge, you're already in a strong position to gain vital insights.
Are you launching a Win/Loss Analysis program? Check out the first three articles, in this Win/Loss Program Launch series, here:
- How to Launch a Successful Win/Loss Program: Tip 1—First Gain Stakeholder Buy-In
- How to Launch a Successful Win/Loss Program: Tip 2—Building Your Win/Loss Program Interview Guide
- How to Launch a Successful Win/Loss Program: Tip 3—Building Your Own Win/Loss Program Technology Stack
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