Win/Loss Analysis – Your Questions Answered
What is Win/Loss Analysis, anyway?
It’s the process of understanding why a sales opportunity was realised or not. Win/Loss Analysis involves speaking directly
to your customers to elicit accurate insights about your business. These can be used to improve your sales, marketing,
product features, and value proposition.
What will my sales team get from Win/Loss Analysis?
The short answer is: Your team will get the truth from the buyer’s perspective.
There are three sides to any sales story: the seller’s version, the buyer’s version, and the company’s conclusion. It’s easy
to get your company’s version and conclusion. What’s generally missing is the buyer’s side. Even when they share something
about their decision – it wasn’t the right time, they didn’t have the budget, and so on – it’s rarely the full story.
How does Eigenworks conduct Win/Loss Analysis?
Here’s how it unfolds, from start to finish:
- Tell us about your business goals and the impact you want to achieve through a Win/Loss Analysis.
- Select one of our three service offerings:
- Probe: A quick, initial exploration of your recent wins and losses.
- Epic: An intensive deep dive into an important question for your business.
- Cadence: Ongoing interviews that give you a steady pulse of insights.
- We develop a research strategy based on the question you want to investigate.
- You prepare a list of closed-win and closed-loss interviewees that we can approach for an interview.
- We talk to your buyers and non-buyers, analyze and summarize what they tell us, and share our findings with you.
( Learn more about Probe, Epic, and Cadence).
How do you get companies on the phone? Why would they agree to talk to you?
While it might seem surprising, typically 60-70% of the contacts you give us will agree to talk with us. We ask for 30 minutes
of their time, and often the conversation keeps going beyond that. Several factors account for our high participation
- We have a solid process and technique developed and refined over 10 years.
- We offer an incentive – the interviewee can select a gift card of $50-$75 or choose to donate the funds to the charity
of their choice. We’ve experimented with incentivization and found it helps ensure the interviewee shows up for
- There is a psychological component at play. It is present because a sales engagement is a personal interaction, and
our follow-up call is not experienced in the same way as, for example, a random telemarketing call. The buyer (or
non-buyer) knows you worked hard to get their business. You thought about their needs, and on some level, they
want to reward that. If the fit wasn’t right, they may welcome the chance to shed some light on the decision. They
also have a sense that their feedback can contribute to the industry overall, by shaping improved products and
services that will benefit them in the future.
How do you set up the conversation?
We tell the interviewee that we’re helping you do a strategic review of your performance. As you plan the next year of product
roadmap and approach to the market, you want to hear from your buyers, and you’ve asked us to reach out. We don’t hide
your name, or the fact that we’re talking to them at your request. It is all upfront.
How does the conversation unfold? Don’t people get defensive?
No, because we use a unique dialogue approach called Buyer as Hero™.
Buyer as Hero™ focuses on the interviewee, their story, and their journey. We start from the assumption that they engaged
with you for good reasons, and they made their eventual decision, whatever it was, for good reasons. We see the interviewee
as an agent of change – someone who was trying to create a positive impact within their organization. By framing the
conversation in this way, interviewees do not feel defensive. They understand we are not trying to talk them out of
their position. In fact, we want to go deeper into it, to get to the heart of the matter. We invite them to explore
their decision more thoroughly with prompts like:
“I want to hear more.” “Now I see why you went that route.” “Tell me more about that.”
Later in the conversation, we ask questions to help diagnose the buying decision:
“What about this particular feature that Company thinks makes them unique?” To which we might hear a variety of responses:
“Oh, that didn’t come up.” “Yes, they mentioned that, but I didn’t care about it.” “I cared about it, but I couldn’t convince
We can then ask further questions to deepen the diagnosis. For a win, we might ask: “What if Company had offered feature
A, B, or C, which our competitors say we’re lacking?” To which we might hear:
“It was a consideration, sure, but it wasn’t as important as the main factor.” “We actually didn’t care about that.” “Yes,
that is missing, we agree.”
In short, by using the Buyer as Hero ™ approach, we open the door for the buyer to tell the truth, and we can test alternatives
to get the full picture.
What kind of insights and ROI have you seen coming out of your conversations?
One example is a Win/Loss project that we did for a company which positioned itself as having the superior product. But our
buyer interviews revealed that very few buyers based their purchase decision on product superiority. In fact, more
than 90% said they decided based on other factors, such as whether the seller had tuned into effectively to their particular
At the time, our client had a win rate of about 45% against their main competitor. They used our findings to implement a
different sales approach, and within six or eight months their win rate increased to more than 60% and they were able
to capture $15 million of additional revenue.
Not every project creates such dramatic impact. But smaller findings are also important. For example, we have found unnecessary
discounting, i.e., the buyer was ready to purchase at the higher price. We learned that certain deals considered by
our client to be a slam dunk were in fact a very close evaluation. We discovered that a company’s products were differentiated
in ways the company hadn’t considered. All of this is vital information for our clients.
How many wins and how many losses do you study?
In our flagship offering, the Epic, we study between 20 and 30 sales opportunities with a mix of wins and losses. Previously,
we aimed for a 50-50 mix but over time we have learned that it is more fruitful to bias the selection toward losses.
Now we do a 60-40, or even 70-30, split of losses and wins respectively.
The intent is to see what’s working well for you, and also what is not. It’s the combination of those findings that gives
What does Win/Loss Analysis require from us in terms of staff time?
You’ll need to give us a few hours to tell us about your business, your goals, your challenges, and the impact you want to
create. We budget time for as many internal stakeholders as you would like us to speak to. Typically, you connect us
with up to five people who can put forward some good thinking with divergent hypotheses and theories.
We also ask for you to identify an internal Buyer Intelligence Champion – someone who will own the initiative, build the
list of interviewees, act as our primary contact, and disseminate findings.
In what form do you provide insights? How can we best consume your data?
For each of our interviews, we provide a full verbatim transcript plus full audio, along with a detailed insight report.
There is also the option of receiving a thematic analysis and our recommendations for action, presented in a way that
engages your team.
Our clients absorb the data in different ways. In the early days of his startup, one CEO used to listen to the interviews
via earbuds while watching his daughter’s soccer games. He told us that it was a way to get the voice of his customer
firmly planted in his mind. While he doesn’t do that anymore, his company continues to highlight our interview findings
to every employee via a Slack channel set up for Win/Loss insights.
Many clients just want to see the summaries, the themes, and our recommendations. We can further debrief by phone, or if
you like, or we can come to your site and do a workshop to explore the findings and implications in greater depth with
members of your team. There are different levels of appreciation for working with the insights, and we aim to meet
What kind of companies do you work with?
We have deep expertise with businesses using software-as-a-service delivery models and the enterprise market in general. We’ve helped companies that provide everything from network security and email deliverability to healthcare notifications and telecom monitoring.
Do you have international capabilities?
We mainly work in North America, although we do have interviewers who can work nights and talk to companies in Asia. Currently
we conduct our interviews exclusively in English.