I’ve had a number of people recently ask me, “What’s the value of a win-loss program to a sales team?”
After a little thought, I’ve decided to write my first blog to answer this very question with a concrete example that demonstrates the value that a win-loss program brings to a sales organization.
Case Study: Employing Win-Loss Data to Close the Deal
A sales executive for a leading enterprise software company is proposing a seven-figure deal to a Fortune 100 retailer looking to leverage predictive analytics to deliver real-time offers to its customers. To gain a competitive advantage and improve her chances of winning the business, the software executive turns to her marketing department’s win-loss program. With this win-loss initiative, her company engages a consultant to interview a sampling of the deals that the company competes 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 software company’s competitor is a large stack vendor.
Step 1: Review Relevant Win-Loss Interviews
Initially, our sales executive thinks that her proposal should emphasize the flexibility of her company’s data mining, modeling, and scoring technology. When she reviews a couple of recent win-loss interviews with a retailer, however, she learns that the most important buying criteria was the vendor’s ability to implement the solution and the customer’s ability to manage the solution once it’s been rolled out.
Step 2: Research the Competitor
Next she reviews the battle card for this competitor. She learns the competitor’s solution 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.
Step 3: Craft the Proposal
Based on the findings of the win-loss program analysis, the sales executive changes her approach.
- Working with her services team, she focuses her proposal on the strength of their implementation.
- She provides examples of successful projects that were on-time and under budget.
- She proposes a Center of Excellence (COE) staffed by members of her team to support the adoption of her company’s technology.
- She structures the program–with governance and executive oversight–to ensure project milestones are reached.
- The solution architecture will leverage the customer’s existing data systems and infrastructure.
Of course the proposal still mentions her product’s rich tools and flexibility, but, thanks to the data drawn from the win-loss analysis, the approach is far more consultative than her original direction.
Step 4: Exploit the Competitor’s Weaknesses
Based on her company’s win-loss program’s competitor battle cards, she also plants concerns about her competitor’s product:
- 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 retail buyer’s needs and her competitor’s weaknesses, she was able to assemble an effective account strategy — and win the deal.
When you consider how this win-loss program enables an entire sales organization to compete more effectively, you can begin to appreciate the value that win-loss has on company’s sales.