Gearing up for sales and marketing success in 2010? Now is a great time to look back and review last year’s track record.
Use these five questions to strengthen your win/loss analysis.
1. How effective are sales tools like ROI and business-value analyses?
Some sales teams rely on formal ROI analyses to demonstrate value to prospects, but they may overestimate the real value of these tools. In many situations, the ROI result itself is not differentiating, but the data-gathering process required to perform the analysis enables the sales team to build a stronger relationship with the buyer. Win/loss analysis is an opportunity to ask buyers how the ROI analysis really impacted their decision, and determine its true value in the sales process.
2. To what extent is “Sales” following its own sales process?
Most sales teams are trained in a selling approach; but are they actually following the approach? Use win/loss analysis to understand how closely Sales follows the process in individual deals. For example, is Sales building relationships at the right levels? Is Sales more likely to win deals when they’ve built relationships at multiple levels or does that not matter for your product area?
3. How formal is the buying process?
Some buyers follow a formal, codified purchasing process. Others are much less formal. How do your prospects buy, and how does the level of formality correlate to whether your company won or lost the deal? While most sales teams have a sense of whether they fare better when the process is less vs. more formal, including this finding in a win/loss analysis documents the trend and enables the sales team to develop systematic strategies to respond.
4. What information sources influence the buying decision?
Use win/loss analysis to evaluate whether investments in marcom, PR, analyst relations, etc., are paying off. Win/loss analysis works best for understanding how sources like industry analysts or events influence opinions because buyers are most likely to remember if they used an analyst or attended an event. It is less useful for evaluating the effectiveness of print advertising. Buyers rarely attribute their knowledge of a company to a print ad, even though it may be one of the touch points that contributed to their awareness of your company.
5. What motivates buyers to start evaluating vendors?
Win/loss analysis provides an opportunity to understand what event, person, or circumstances “got the ball rolling” and started the buying process. By understanding the trigger events, your organization can know what to watch for, such as senior management changes, a merger or completion of other major projects and qualify deals better.
Jeana McNeil is VP of Isurus Market Research & Consulting, a primary market research firm serving the b-to-b market. She can be reached at email@example.com.