Which arrow flies for ever? The arrow that has hit its mark. –Vladamir Nabokov, “A Russian Beauty
Hitting the mark feels great, but there is also much to be gained when we miss the target. In business we celebrate the wins and mourn the losses, and all too often we do not take the time to learn from either. Conducting a win-loss analysis can yield essential information that ensures that your arrow files forever.
Often companies will hire me to help uncover their brand distinctions and enhance their marketing. Inevitably I find that many assumptions have been made about their existing strengths. The answer to distinction often lies in why current customers have chosen them yet many small to medium sized businesses have not bothered to ask the question.
At the start of a new customer relationship, take time to discover the reasons you were selected. You may uncover overlooked selling points and when done routinely you will have a clear picture of your strengths. When you lose an account, a win-loss analysis can help you identify areas of weakness but can also set the tone for a continuing relationship. When you do not win, be the best #2 you can be as you may have another opportunity to win the account.
Questions to explore in your win-loss analysis:
Reasons for Purchase
- Business case /need
- Primary objectives
- What triggered the timing of the buy?
- Selection criteria and person(s) involved
- How were solution candidates selected?
- Who was considered? Who was shortlisted?
- What criteria were essential in the evaluation process?
- Who had the best solution?
- How and where did others fall short?
Decision and End Results:
- Who was selected and why?
- At what point in the process did they stop considering other providers?
- How will yo measure success?
This is by no means an exhaustive list but should provide some guidance. You can conduct a win-loss analysis in person, by phone or even using a survey tool. Implement a system to survey your wins and losses and you will receive a quiver full of actionable information.
Have you ever performed a win-loss analysis? Were you surprised by the results? If you do not routinely perform these, do you query lost customers to discover why you were not selected?