Why Win/Loss Analysis Doesn't Work: Instead, Use Buying Insights to Boost Sales
byOpenMerit3610-24-201606:38 AM - edited 10-24-201606:43 AM
Win, loss. It's how we are trained to figure out why people buy, and didn't buy. But is it enough to help sales win more deals and close them faster?
Do you do Win-Loss Analysis? Most sales leaders do.
And it can be very valuable.
But have you noticed that you consistently hear that your wins are built on positive relationships, and losses are caused by price/feature shortcomings?
There is much more to your buyer’s decision, something ELSE you should be doing -- that would generate a higher return -- and have a much more significant impact on sales performance across the entire organization.
Why win loss analysis isn't enough.
Win-loss analysis is ONLY focused on the prospects who considered you -- you never hear the opinions of a huge number of potential buyers who are not showing up in your pipeline.
Customers who chose you want to feel good about their decision and keep the relationship positive so they don’t tell you the whole truth.
Prospects who selected a competitor won’t reveal their actual decision criteria for fear you’ll use it to reopen the discussion.
Your questions are all about what you want to know, which means that you’re missing a big part of the buyer’s version of the story.
The data from your win/loss interviews isn’t fully utilized to ensure that every sales person is more effective.
How do you solve this?
You need to find prospects who have recently bought something JUST LIKE what you are selling, leave the scripted questions behind, listen for buying insights, and use the information more effectively.
Commit to discovering buying insights.
In the recent past we have conducted more than 900 one-to-one interviews with B2B buyers of complex, high-stakes, high-consideration products and services (those that involve multiple decision makers & influencers, take weeks or even months to evaluate, and involve career-make-or-break decisions).
Inevitably, we discover objections, buying criteria, mistaken perceptions in the market or facts hurting our client’s sale that they did not know before.
Want to do the same?
Here are some tips on how to do it right:
Define your target customer and put a name on the problem you are solving. Be specific. It isn’t enough to say that you’re selling “IT services” or that the CIO is the decision-maker. Think about which role in your prospect’s organization leads the evaluation and how they would describe the solution they are seeking or the problem they want to solve.
Think like a journalist and ask people to tell you their story. The only scripted question is the first one, “Take me back to the day when this became a priority… what made it important THEN as opposed to all the other times this may have come up?”
Listen, don’t sell. If the buyer’s perception about your service or product is inaccurate, probe to find out what led them to that conclusion. This is not a time to worry about quotas, defend your stance, or educate this buyer. You want to hear exactly what sales or marketing interaction isn’t working so you can correct it.
Ask probing questions – "You mentioned that all three vendors did a presentation; did one stand out more than the others?” “What did you hope to learn from those presentations … and what was missing?”
Probe when you hear emotion. Ever notice how people call you when they need to vent? Or reach out when they’re feeling something strongly? Tap and validate emotions – strong feelings – and make sure you note them – these are THE BEGINNINGS of what's really going on behind why people do or do not buy from you.
Stop using inane surveys or questions like "did the rep speak knowledgeably about the product? Slightly agree, strongly agree, or please give me Novocain now!"
Don't send an email, and NEVER share the questions you will ask beforehand. When you provide questions ahead of time, people think of whatever their answer might be, and then come to you with something that has been "thought out." What you want is the emotional – unfiltered – limbic answers – that come right from the heart! To do that you need to have a real conversation, where someone feels a connection, and is feeling listened to.
Use the phone. Face-to-face is a distraction. When people can imagine and speak, without concern for in-person pleasantries, you’ll get richer more detailed answers. Plus you can record the interviews and use the verbatim quotes to report what you heard in a lot more detail.
Have someone conduct the interviews AS FAR AWAY FROM THE PROSPECT AS POSSIBLE. Because of the law of familiarity, anyone who the prospect remotely associates with someone they know in the company will change the answers that you receive. Why? They assume you already know most of the stuff about their account or situation. And you don’t.
Promise anonymity – or anything else you need to do – to get the honest truth. The more comfortable folks are, the more they will listen. You can aggregate the answers with other honest buyer feedback, and tell your higher ups “this is from 8 of the top 100 companies in our target market.”
Record the call. Don't type on your computer because people can tell you're distracted in how your voice comes across.
These are just a few tips for conducting the interviews. You can learn much more in the book that was named to Fortune Magazine’s top five business books for 2015, Adele Revella’s Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight Into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business.
What to DO WITH Your Buying Insights
Imagine a QBR, sales kickoff or sales meeting that DIDN’T focus on “making people go through the exact stages of your selling process,” where you would be able to share real insights with your sales team on WHY prospects weren’t buying, the MISTAKEN PERCEPTIONS they had of your product, so you could address those head-on, and the HIDDEN OBJECTIONS AND ISSUES going on inside their business that were hindering your sales.
Wouldn’t that be more valuable? Here’s a few ways to utilize your buying insights:
Give Your Reps 3D Glasses – so they can easily use Buying Insights to spot time-wasting buyers and focus on the prospects who are most likely to help them open doors and get the deal done.
Create a Buyer’s Guide – revealing how prospects make choices and which positives about your solution will be most likely to impress.
Create an Objection-Buster Guide to resolve choke points and guide reps on how to respond to and eliminate the objections you heard in your interviews.
Play Audio Clips of Buyer comments at your QBR or kickoff. I did this once at a Sales Kickoff. You could have heard a pin drop.
Give your insights to your marketing colleagues so that they can build more targeted sales tools and marketing campaigns.
Remember: buying insights trump win-loss analysis because they provide the reasons UNDER the hood behind why prospects buy, or don’t buy. Package them, use them, trumpet your unique responses to them – and watch your inside sales performance go up!!!
Steve Rankel is a veteran marketer and salesperson who has sold everything from home-heating oil at night to complex enterprise software (his mother still doesn’t understand what he does). Steve works with the Buyer Persona Institute to help companies gather and use buying insights to better equip sales & marketing teams. Learn more at www.buyerpersona.com. And for more expert advice from Steve, join our webinar this Thursday, October 27th, at 10 am PT. Along with Adele Revella, CEO of Buyer Persona Institute, Steve will be presenting "The Real Reason You Lost That Deal & How to Ensure You Win the Next." Click here to register!