After a month of interviews, analysis, data slicing, and late nights, your win/loss analysis is ready for release. You send it out in hope that your keen insights have shaped a report worth reading — but within three hours harsh words are spoken, battle lines are drawn, and the Heads of Sales and Product Management have sworn to duel at dawn.
Presenting win/loss analysis, like any sensitive report, can be a tricky business. No one wants to hear how they failed to sell a product or add the right features. You can’t just release a win/loss report into the wild without making preparations for its arrival. At Eigenworks we have a set of First Principles for how to release a report the right way – a way that not only keeps the peace, but delivers your insights for maximum impact.
[Note: We’re using Sales and Product Management as a point of conflict as an example only. In fact, the following techniques can be applied to any teams, be they Sales/Product Management, Marketing/Customer Success, or even a CEO struggling with a board. Everyone has something to learn from win/loss analysis.]
Understanding the Conflict
Ultimately, all of these techniques are about building a foundation of trust – trust that your teams have one another’s best interests at heart, and trust that the feedback found in a win/loss report comes from a place of honesty. So often, conflict in a company looks a little like this:
Tension between teams is counterproductive. When a sensitive report arrives, it needs to be handled in a way that allows teams to learn from the analysis. So how can you do this?
1. Change The Culture
Treat a win/loss analysis as a learning exercise for everyone. It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about helping the company as a whole improve. Emphasize that the report is about learning and change. A win/loss report can actually help to align teams, because it removes guesswork and provides data for evidence-based decision-making.
2. Absorb Feedback
Start the process by having each team/department go through the report as a team. Reinforce the idea of a culture of learning — how can we learn from what our buyers are saying? Have each team create an action plan based on the feedback that buyers have provided.
One important note here is that we typically recommend that we typically recommend that critiques against individuals be removed from general distribution. If, for example, a buyer says they were uncomfortable with a particular salesperson’s approach, that’s best resolved in private. Remember: this is about team cohesion and team improvement, and issues for individuals should stay at the individual level.
With plans in hand, it is time for teams to present their actions to one another. This allows the findings to be more broadly absorbed, and encourages teams to learn from each other and see the big picture of how the entire company can work together to improve sales, product, and marketing.
The ideal end result of this process: teams who refocus their energy from infighting and direct it toward the company’s competitors.
Use your win/loss report to unify teams toward a common cause, so that everyone — Sales, Product Management, Finance, Marketing, even HR — is on the same page as to what your company’s goals are: growing the business and helping your customers succeed.