Ellen Naylor, CEO, The Business Intelligence Source
One of my Colorado competitive intelligence colleagues scolded me as I neglected to include how Win/Loss results can be fed into company deliverables in my Win/Loss Analysis book. In the book, I explain in 12 steps how to create a sustainable Win/Loss program, and how to be a more effective conversationalist to get people to share.
Step 12 is the most important: “Act on the changes from Win/Loss Analysis”. However, you can also repurpose these findings to improve deliverables that your company already produces.
Product Managers often feel distant from customers. While Win/Loss results can feed them feature data, they also bring them closer to the customer, since Win/Loss is customer feedback.
Win/Loss results can help product managers improve your company’s product features, and market them in language the customer understands.
Take these results from Win/Loss and feed them into your marketing and PR campaigns. Some customers’ verbatim statements can be lifted from Win/Loss interviews for these purposes.
Win/Loss results can help you figure out what to promote what customers will value, instead of guessing through trial and error. Win/Loss can help your company craft marketing messages that resonate with your customers.
Win/Loss results can fill in more details in your customers’ buying personas that you won’t get from any other source.
Trade Shows and New Employees
Win/Loss results can help your company collectors develop better questions to ask at trade shows. They can also be used to help your trade show personnel better qualify those who come to your booth…and ask them better questions before sharing information about your company (or not).
Win/Loss results can be used as part of the competitive intelligence used in training new sales and marketing personnel.
Especially in technology, we often hear about suggested partners during Win/Loss interviews. We also hear about strategic partnerships. We used Win/Loss results to influence an acquisition when I worked at a telecommunications company.
Win/Loss can add ammunition to battle cards to help Sales counter specific competitors. You learn which company strengths, features, and services that customers value, and these should be inserted in proposals and product demos. You learn about competitors’ weaknesses, which is particularly helpful if some of these weaknesses are your company’s strengths.
You learn about your company’s weaknesses, which you’ll want to improve, if you can. At the very least, keep Sales away from discussing weakness as much as possible, and feed your Sales staff words to get the conversation back to your company’s strengths.
We have used Win/Loss results as part of ongoing sales training. This is great material to share at quarterly or annual company sales meetings.
Written Words / Media
Win/Loss findings can influence what you share in the company’s annual report, such as customer testimonials that you discover.
You learn what areas customers want to hear more about, which can be great material for white papers.
Customer testimonials and your company’s strengths from Win/Loss interviews can strengthen your website’s content. Be careful not to share too much, but share enough to attract potential customers…a fine line. Customer testimonials also make good videos, as long as they’re professional and not too long.
On a final note, all you learn from Win/Loss–especially about the competition–can be shared via your company’s database, for example, through updated competitor profiles. Some companies have such great competitor data available for Sales, that they win deals based on this.
Ellen Naylor is one of America’s pioneers in competitive intelligence and Win/Loss analysis. For 25 years, Ellen’s company, The Business Intelligence Source, has delivered research that has consistently helped companies make smarter strategic decisions. She authored the award- winning book, Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want. Contact Ellen Naylor @EllenNaylor or see her full profile.