Britta Lorenz invited Cian Mcloughlin to share his expertise in the field of win-loss analysis. Cian’s passion for this topic started during his own sales career. Whenever he lost a deal after spending a lot of time and effort pursuing it, he would find himself wondering what had gone wrong and how he could learn from it.
It is not easy to listen to your customer tell you how your competitor won the deal because their approach was better than yours, but you can learn a great deal from it. A win-loss analysis can help you get value from a sales cycle, even if you lose the deal. You can use it to enable your salespeople, find gaps in the sales process, and get better.
What Is The Main Cause For Lost Sales
Price differences and the popularity of the competition are not the main causes of lost sales. If you take the time to ask the customer, you might find out that you focused too much on your solution and not enough on their problems.
Other reasons for losing sales could be:
- The customer perceives your procedures as too risky
- Your content is too generic
- The customer wants a broader coverage than the one you are offering
- Poor engagement or personal connection with the customer
- Making assumptions at the start and not testing them
How To Unlock The Customer To Give You Feedback
Asking for feedback is appropriate and professional, and most customers will be willing to share their thoughts openly if you ask in the right way and follow these steps:
1. Ask For Their Feedback Early In The Sales Cycle
Instead of asking once they have made their buying decision or not, ask them early in the sales cycle to give you feedback at the end of their journey with you.
2. Send a Third-Party To Get Their Feedback
Sending the person directly involved in the sales process will put the customer in an uncomfortable position, especially if their feedback is not favorable. The customer will feel more comfortable sharing honest feedback if you send a third-party to talk to them, even if it is someone from inside your organization.
3. Tell Them What You Are Going To Use Their Feedback For (and What Not)
Let them know what you are going to use the information for. Make clear that you are not going to beat up your salespeople or try to find a problem with their decision-making process and restart the sales cycle. Share with them that you want to use their feedback to get value from the sales cycle and improve.
Factors To Consider For a Win-Loss Analysis
There are different factors that you need to consider if you want to perform a win-loss analysis:
1. Go Directly To The Source
If you want to get relevant feedback, go directly to the source and talk to the decision-makers that made the buying or not-buying decision.
2. Follow The Steps Of The Sales Cycle
To find the right questions, break down your sales cycle and look for the different touchpoints. If your questions follow the customer journey, the interview will flow naturally.
3. Close The Loop
The salesperson directly involved in the sales cycle should talk to the customer after receiving their feedback to close the loop. Showing them that you appreciate their feedback will create a positive customer experience.
The Value Of Feedback
Even when you lose a deal, you can still get value from the sales cycle if you take the time to ask the customer what went wrong and do a win-loss analysis.
There are many different reasons for losing a deal, but after years of interviewing customers, Cian recognizes many consistent themes in their answers. First of all, it is critical to listen to the customer and take the time to really understand their problems before you start pitching. Secondly, the customer wants to feel safe, so it is up to you to offer them a sense of security by assuming the risks implied in the transaction. Finally, it is also essential to build a personal connection with the customer to create trust. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can find our article about the importance of emotional intelligence in sales and sales leadership.
Whether you win or lose a deal, don’t walk away before asking the customer these two questions:
Would you consider working with us again in the future?
And what would we need to do for you to want to work with us again?
Their answers will help you level up and get better.
About Cian Mcloughlin
Cian Mcloughlin is the founder and CEO of Trinity Perspectives, a boutique training and consulting company specializing in Win Loss Analysis, Sales Training, and Transformation. Cian is also the author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Rebirth of the Salesman. You can contact him via LinkedIn or check out Trinity Perspectives, where he offers a lot of free resources for salespeople and sales leaders.
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