The Value of Win/Loss

Today I’m announcing that I’ve started a business that provides competitive marketing services to high tech clients.

I’m teaming up with a titan of win/loss analysis — Richard Case. Richard is a former Gartner VP, and we have worked together in the past. I will be leveraging Richard’s win/loss methodology and patented analysis approach as part of the services I will be delivering. I’m looking forward to working closely with him – and my clients.

I will be using this blog to discuss some best practices of competitive marketing.

I can hardly think of a better way to start this blog – than by providing a concrete example demonstrating the value that a win/loss program brings to a sales organization.

Sales Example of Win/Loss

A sales executive for a leading enterprise software company is proposing a seven-figure deal to a Fortune 100 retailer. The retailer wants to leverage predictive analytics to deliver real-time offers to its customers.

This software vendor has a marketing department that manages a win/loss program. They leverage a consultant to interview about 20% of the deals that they compete in – both wins and losses. The marketing team leverages this win/loss data to produce competitor-specific battle cards (“attack plans”) — which are then provided to the sales team.

The competitor is a large stack vendor.

Initially, our sales executive thinks that her proposal should emphasize the flexibility of her company’s data mining, modeling, and scoring technology.

She reviews a couple of recent win/loss interviews where the buyer was a retailer.

She learns that the most important buying criteria was the vendor’s ability to implement the solution – and its ability to enable the customer to manage the solution once it’s been rolled out.

Next she reviews the battle card for this competitor. She learns the competitor has a solution that is comprised of three recently acquired technologies. Although the solution is powerful, it’s overly complex. The competitor also requires that its own data management platform and data preparation tools must be used as part of the solution.

The sales executive reflects upon the win/loss data, and decides to change her approach. Working with her services team, she puts forward a proposal that focuses heavily on aspects of the implementation. She provides examples of successful projects that were on-time and under budget. A Center of Excellence (COE) that will be staffed with members of her team will support the adoption of her company’s technology. A project structure with governance and executive oversight will ensure the project milestones are reached. Finally, the solution architecture will leverage the customer’s existing data systems and infrastructure.

Although the proposal still mentions her product’s rich tools and flexibility, the approach is very different from her original direction. It’s far more consultative.

The sales executive also plants concerns about her competitor….

  • It requires its own data management platform to be installed — which is costly, slow, and disruptive
  • The solution is overly complex
  • The solution architecture is still changing
  • Few, if any, customers have used all three of its acquired products together

Armed with the knowledge of similar buyer’s needs and the weaknesses of her competitor, she was able to assemble an effective account strategy — and win the deal.

Consider how this win/loss program (as depicted with the graphic below and detailed here) enables an entire sales organization to compete more effectively. Now you can begin to appreciate the value that win/loss has on company’s sales.




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