In our last article we discussed how to narrow down a large pool of customers into an appropriate number for win/loss – if you’re a company with thousands of customers, the best techniques you should employ for getting the [[twenty to thirty interviewees]] you most need for good analysis.
But before you place a single call, you should know exactly why you’re calling, and what you hope to get out of the conversation.
At Eigenworks, we talk a lot about the buyer’s need for Fundamental Change: every buyer, when they choose to make a purchase from a vendor, does so because they have some need that is fundamental to their well-being as a company.
When you make the decision to conduct win/loss interviews, you’re also demonstrating a Fundamental Change that needs to be met – or, perhaps, it might be better to say that you have a Fundamental Concern that needs to be addressed. Perhaps it is churn: too many clients not renewing. Perhaps you’re curious about the performance of your sales team. Or perhaps you want to explore why customers buy your product – what are the features that they really like? Your first step is to know just what it is you need to know.
Segment your Wins and Losses
Just as you did – or are going to do – with your interviewees, it helps to segment your wins and losses themselves into broad categories. For example, how did the sale struggle or succeed? What were the ups and downs? In this way, you can start collating pools of similar scenarios, which will help clarify what kind of research goals you could study. For example, if you find example after example of sales that became losses right before the contract was signed, then that’s a potential research question: why are your sales failing just short of the finish line, and how are the sales you win different from those you lose? What are the common denominators, and what can you do to fix the problem? Maybe you’ll notice that your churn rates spike in the summer months, or at the end of the second quarter – that’s a field of focus too. In all these ways, a segmented, itemized list will give you a great overview of questions you may want to ask.
Talk to Your Teams
Win/Loss/Churn analysis can produce a treasure trove of data. When creating your research goals, reach out to different stakeholders across different departments and see if they can offer any guidance for the research goals. Maybe Sales would also like a review of its performance. Maybe Marketing is curious if their new initiative is gaining traction, or the CEO would like to see if the extra funding approved for Customer Support has paid off, and so on. Win/Loss can be an involved process, so getting everyone involved means having the largest return on investment. If you can find a way to stack research goals, more the better – killing multiple birds with a single stone is rewarding for everyone, not to mention cost-effective.
Don’t Waste Your Time
The next time you’re laying out a win/loss study, you have an opportunity to make the most of it by creating clear research goals. If you do win/loss analysis regularly, you’ll form a series of data points – a way to track trends among your buyers, and their changing needs. Ideas that didn’t work five years ago might seem more feasible three years later. Regardless, if you can clarify your research goals, you will never feel like you’ve wasted an opportunity to learn from your customers through Win/Loss analysis.