What if there was a simple way to see your business from your customer’s perspective? And what if such information could guarantee you a substantial increase in market share?
Win/loss analysis is a systematic way of gathering critical intel that’s absolute gold for business development. Sadly, the majority of startup businesses don’t deploy this invaluable tool, even though these are precisely the organizations that could benefit most from using it.
That’s too bad, because a Gartner study found that organizations that conduct formal win/loss analysis with an appropriate degree of rigor can improve their sales win rates by up to 50%.
When you conduct win/loss analysis you’re opening a direct line of communication with your customers and asking questions about their buying cycle—specifically, why they have purchased your product or why they are choosing not to. You ask for feedback on your own sale and marketing processes, including your strengths and weaknesses; what worked and what didn’t. Questions can include everything from their decision-making process to pricing, presentation and your ability to address their concerns.
Very often, you’ll find that the answers you receive might be quite different—even diametrically opposed—to what you anticipated. Almost always, you come away with crucial nuggets of data that can be transformative in shaping your approach to sales, marketing, product development and customer support.
Even better, you can gather information about your competitors and how their products stack up against yours. Whether it’s adding relevant features or simplifying your sales process, these insights inform your future efforts to improve your business operations as well as your products or services.
There are other, less tangible benefits to win/loss analysis as well. From the customer’s point of view, such communication demonstrates that you care about their opinion—that you’re listening and open to hearing about ways you can improve and keep their business (or win it next time). Don’t be surprised if you hear the customer say, “Wow, no one has ever asked me this before.”
Be warned, however: This isn’t a one-time task. In an ever-changing business climate, effective win/loss analysis must be conducted constantly in order to consistently keep your finger on the sales pulse. When you initiate win/loss analysis, at a minimum you want to be conducting four to five customer interviews a month. In time, that number can be reduced, but you always want to maintain that contact so you can address customer expectations, change your product accordingly and meet their needs head on.
By the way, the same Gartner study states that the most effective way to conduct win/loss analysis is by engaging an independent third-party organization that can maintain the impartiality needed to ensure that the information is as accurate as possible. Use it to your best advantage and you’ll see far more wins than losses.
To inquire about Lion’s Share’s services and how we can help you leverage your customers’ experience, contact us today.