Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

Win Loss Analysis is more than Competitive Intelligence

Win loss analysis is my favorite tactical cooperative intelligence practice as it offers the best ROI of any sales intelligence tool. You gain intelligence by interviewing your customers shortly after the sales event to find out why they chose to do business with you or decided on a competitor. The data gathered combines knowledge from sales, customers, competitors, and your marketplace.

Consider these points to develop a cooperative B to B win loss process:

- Clearly identify objectives for conducting win loss
- Invest the time to develop the questions you want answered
- Include Sales
- Maintain professionalism throughout the process
- Don’t just “survey” your customers
- Don’t just interview losses; include wins
- Communicate findings broadly within your company

I’ve conducted win/loss interviews and analysis for years, and enjoyed reading Ford Harding’s post, “Learning from Loss,” where he shared findings from Ken Sawka of Outward Insights about what can be obtained from conducting win loss interviews.

What I found most interesting was Ford’s experience in professional services firms where partners do the work and make or lose the sale so there isn’t a dedicated sales force. Ford’s focus isn’t competitive intelligence so his perspective is valuable to those of us with our heads in the competitive intelligence sandbox. He is the author of Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field. A rain maker is an employee who creates a significant amount of new business to a company. Rain Making uncovers how professional services are marketed successfully in terrific detail. I decided to buy the book to gain the perspective of selling in professional services as I sold in the retail and telecommunications arenas. BTW Rain Making gets very good reviews on Amazon.

As a competitive intelligence professional, you will be more successful in capturing competitive data from sales if you build your emotional intelligence by gaining an understanding and empathy for the challenges and joys of their job. You will most certainly acquire this from Rain Making. You might even give your company’s sales and PR folks some tippers from this book.

For more reading on win loss analysis consider this article, “Increasing Sales through Win Loss Analysis.”

Do you conduct win loss interviews are your company? If so, how have you used the findings to improve your business?

If you like this post, read others at my blog.

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Comment by Ellen Naylor on February 18, 2009 at 12:45am
BTW there is another article on win/loss on Feb. 13 in the blogosphere...well actually just on losses, but a worthwhile read for those who are having trouble getting a formal win/loss process off the ground: From On Product Management "Competitive Intelligence Using Lost Deals" http://tinyurl.com/bqgrsx
Comment by Ellen Naylor on February 17, 2009 at 10:58am
I have extensive experience in conducting win/loss analysis, and if properly executed, I always see results to the bottom line. If not properly executed, it's a waste of everyone's time. Politics can get in the way for instance, and sales might not get engaged for a number of reasons.

But don't just take my word for it. Read chapter 15 (W/L Analysis) from Babette and Craig's book, "Business and Competitive Analysis." I'm sure there are other sources in the "sales & marketing" world too, but why not start out in the CI world? Thanks for your question and HTH, Ellen
Comment by Max Nelson on February 16, 2009 at 11:43pm
Is there an analysis and data upon which you base your assertion that Win loss analysis offers the best ROI of any sales intelligence tool"?

Thanks!

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