The Sales Enablement Guide to Win/Loss Analysis, Part 2: The Customer Perspective
Here’s what a typical win/loss analysis looks like for many sales teams:
The sales manager and the sales reps sit down and look through past opportunities, going through some basic questions to find out why the deal did or did not close. They might come up with a game plan for how to improve in the future, and that’s it. Case closed.
Did you see what’s missing in that scenario?
Just like there are two sides to every story, there are two main perspectives to any sales deal: the sales rep’s and the customer’s. Beyond those two, there are also likely many other people who were involved with the opportunity: channel partners, marketers, sales support staff, etc. Do you really think you can get an accurate picture of what happened with that prospect based solely on the sales rep’s recollection?
Ignoring the customer’s perspective is one of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make when setting up a win/loss analysis process.
So how do you get the buyer’s perspective, especially if you lost the deal? Follow the tips below.
Tips for Getting Customer/Lead Feedback
- Set up a “feedback request” call as a normal part of your sales process. Ideally one week after the deal closes or falls through, request a quick 10-minute phone call. Both the request and the call should be casual and one-on-one instead of a formal meeting.
- Don’t try to pressure the buyer into the meeting based on whether or not they decided to go with your company. Instead, frame the phone call as a way to the customer can help your sales team improve their process for the future.
- You’ll probably gain better results if the phone call comes from someone not directly associated with the deal, especially if the prospect ended up going to a competitor. There are many companies you can hire to do your customer analysis calls for you.
- Before you call any customers, have two separate outlines with specific questions to ask based on whether you won the deal or not. This will help the caller stay focused on what’s important and ensure you get the information that’s most relevant.
Questions to Ask for Won Deals
What was it that set our company apart from the rest?
Not only is this question an additional pat on the back for a job well done, but it can help you find out if you’re focusing your messaging and product roadmap on the right features. For example, if the customer was very impressed by a feature that you had previously put little effort into marketing, it could signify an opportunity for adjusting the focus of your marketing campaign.
Was there anything that sales or marketing did that impressed you?
This question might require a little bit of prompting, so give a few examples of the team’s efforts from the sales cycle. Perhaps there was a custom presentations or in-person demo. If the customer genuinely can’t think of anything noteworthy, it’s a sign that your sales and marketing team needs to up their game.
How did you feel about pricing?
While most of the customers will probably say that they wish it was lower (who wouldn’t?), look out for trends. If the most common response is that the buyers were very pleased with the prices and felt that they got a bargain, it’s time to reevaluate your pricing structure.
Would you be willing to serve as a reference/case study/testimonial/press release?
Do your marketing team a favor: If a case study or press release isn’t already built into the contract, take this opportunity to request one from the buyer. For smaller customers that don’t warrant a press release, you could ask for a quote or brief testimonial.
Questions to Ask for Lost Deals
Did the sales team really understand the customer’s need?
Obviously you’ll need to reword the question to reflect each unique prospect, but the goal is to figure out if your sales team missed the mark about the buyer’s pain. If the prospect felt that the sales rep was pushing products or services that weren’t relevant to their needs, it’s a prime coaching opportunity.
Did you decide to seek a solution elsewhere? If so, with whom?
Keeping track of your competitors is vital if you want to your messaging and products to be superior. Try to find out who they went with, if anyone. That company needs to be on your list of competitors to watch and learn from. Most importantly, try to find out why they went with that company.
What was the deciding factor for your decision not to choose us?
If it was because of a feature you don’t provide, it might be worth reevaluating your product roadmap. If it was because of customer service or something wrong with the sales communication, then it’s definitely time to assess your current process.
Questions to Ask for Both Situations
Did you speak with any references? How did that influence the decision?
It’s common to provide references during a large B2B sale, but you need to make sure you’re not overusing any one reference. If you find that people are more likely to pick up the phone to speak with a certain reference or chose your company as a result of that call, you might want to reserve that reference for your top tier opportunities.
Did anything during the sales process change your perception of our company?
Sales and marketing alignment is a big issue with B2B organizations, and this question is an easy way to find out if your sales and marketing messaging isn’t jiving. If the buyer came into the sales cycle with a certain perception of your company, and then found out that the messaging wasn’t accurate, there’s a problem. Either marketing is making promises that sales can’t deliver on, or marketing is missing out on opportunities to promote better products and services.
Any advice on how we can improve things in the future?
If the buyer had any misgivings about the process, this is the opportunity to let you know. Perhaps they thought the sales process was too long or that the sales materials you sent over were too boring. This feedback is exactly the sort of information you want to know if improving your sales methodology is important to you.
Do you have any additional comments?
There’s no way that a template of questions can capture everything relevant to that specific sale, so end the call with an open question for the customer. This gives the buyer a chance to voice any concerns or provide feedback on areas you wouldn’t normally think of.