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  • Writer's pictureGiora Ketter

Extract the Best from your Worst Case Sales Scenarios

Giora’s Buddies is a forum of senior managers that I’ve been leading for the past year, where its members and guests are invited to share and discuss information on a variety of topics touching on organizational management. And yes, as we’ve been in lockdown most of the year, our meetings have, of necessity, often been on Zoom…

In our most recent meetup, Mike Polatsek, the CEO and one of the founders of CybeReady shared his management ethos with us. One of his favorite management tools is what he calls ‘Best, Worst, Next’. What does it mean?

Mike tells us that it’s a methodology the company uses to analyze best practices in a particular area, alongside the worst or failed practices in that area. He then uses the knowledge gained from the analysis to formulate improvement in the area under analysis.

Actually, it’s not unlike the Win/Loss Analysis practiced in competitive intelligence.

So, what exactly is the win/loss analysis methodology?

At the bottom line, in sales you win some, you lose some ­– most managers are familiar with this, but all too often when a sales process fails, they find it difficult to fully understand the lost business. In my experience, many managers find themselves in a gray area when it comes to explaining why their company failed to make a sale. When they ask their salespeople why the sale was lost, the replies are many and varied:

“Our price was too high”

“Our product’s too sophisticated”

“Our competitors won because they have a personal relationship with the potential customer’s managers” and so on.

So, of all of the above, what, if any, is the right response? Is more than one response true? Or is the reason to be found in other factors? Oh, and by the way, the fog exists in the reverse scenario too – when a sale has been successful – and management asks why it was successful so as to learn from and repeat it, the answers can be just as varied or vague.

One of the ways to reveal the real reasons for the success or failure of a sale, and the best way to improve the sales process, is to approach the customers or prospects with whom negotiations were held and simply… ask them.

Win/Loss Analysis aims to reduce the guesswork surrounding winning or losing a deal.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It also provides management with supporting information and practical tools to improve the rate of success in future sales processes. This information would help tailor the company’s products or services to customer needs, strengthen the sales pitch, and much more.

Yet, when I recommend conducting a Win/Loss Analysis, managers often protest. Many fear that customers won’t be willing to answer directly or genuinely about the deliberations behind their selection decisions. There is also embarrassment about asking a customer or someone who preferred not to become one, questions on the topic.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In such scenarios, you can get assistance from a third party (such as us, PuzzleInsights). We will make contact in the name of your company and investigate the sales events to gain an understanding of why that company decided to choose or not to choose the solution your company proposed. Such communications need to be carried out in a focused and effective manner to allow your company to gain the most from them.

Here are a few basic steps for performing a Win/Loss Analysis:

  1. Analyze the percentage of wins and what the Win/Loss Ratio is.

  2. Define the analysis goals.

  3. Draw up a list of people to interview.

  4. Define the work process –­ the interview logistics: How to make contact? How long will the interviews last? And so on.

  5. Formulate the key questions.

  6. Decide who will conduct the interviews (the cultural background is really important in this context) and carefully prepare the interviewers.

  7. Conduct the interviews.

  8. Process the findings and share them with the relevant decision-makers and stakeholders.

  9. Act according to the conclusions.

A Win/Loss Analysis is a methodology that enables VPs of sales or business development to learn from the analysis of successes and failures at the interface with customers and/or prospects. By working to this methodology, sales executives will have the means to analyze why certain sales succeed and others fail, and what can be done in the future to improve performance and raise the win/loss ratio.

Could a Win/Loss Analysis be of help to your company? Can we help you quantify and improve your company’s sales performance?

Email me, and we’ll be pleased to help.

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