Today’s article is about how to learn who you buyers are, how they make purchase decisions, and why they will choose you over your competitors. To follow along, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 and turn to the buyer research phase on pages 168 – 171 of the PDF.
Determining the real reasons for winning and losing starts with buyer research. An expert on this topic is Ann Fellman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Code42. A leader in cloud-based endpoint data security and recovery solutions, Code42 provides solutions for more than 39,000 organizations worldwide.
In this article, Ann is going to describe how to leverage win-loss analysis in the buyer research process. Typically, the output of win-loss analysis reveals surface level basics, but not the real reason for a win or loss. Surface level reasons for losing may include that you didn’t have a specific feature or you were too expensive. Those are usually not the reasons why you win or lose. Those are the logical reasons. Win-Loss interviews performed properly will capture the “why” under the surface that drove the win or loss.
Don’t be afraid to go do the loss calls. They’re so important to learn where you fell flat. The loss calls are the most valuable calls that you could possibly do, so go look for the loss calls. Ann described in an interview how she discovers these real drivers.
How did you determine the real reasons for winning and losing?
First, think through the categories of questions that you’re going to ask for win loss. A lot of technology companies are very feature function-oriented. I think a mistake that organizations might make when they conduct a win loss call is simply just going through the feature function checklist.
We don’t do that. We cover all kinds of things, all kinds of topical categories. Of course, we want to understand the business drivers. What were the reasons that they decided that they had to go solve the problem that they did? What was that problem? Who was involved and how did the problem impact each person?
We do dive into the product, product capabilities, but then we dive into all the other kind of value add elements of what it was like to engage with the team. Did they conduct or go through a support call? Really getting into more granular detail through that experience, not just a check box.
During the interview the first reasons provided will be the logical reasons a decision was justified. The skill of the interviewer is crucial to getting to the real “why” behind the decision. This takes listening skills and the ability to ask questions that get to the emotional reasons for the decisions. The real answers rarely come until you drill deeper.
You can do a check box that … That’s easy, but it’s engaging in the conversation and really asking the why, why, why a couple different times, a couple different ways, to get to kind of the meat of why they didn’t choose, why they did or didn’t choose your solution.
When you lose a deal, what are the reasons?
Number one, the technology speaks for itself. The technology is table stakes comment. Really what puts us over the edge is that we have fanatical customers in our customer council who speak for us. We have a very large customer advocacy community. They’re out there evangelizing Code42 to all their peers. The proof is in what your customers say about you.
An important touchpoint is human interaction and it’s our customers that we place in the selling process to share their human interactions. There’s nothing better than someone saying, “I’ve had experience with the product and this is the great experience that I have.” That’s one reason we win a deal.
The other reason is, too, is just the success. It’s rooted in our customers’ journey. Again, it doesn’t stop at the purchase. We have customer champions and dedicated customer success teams that are focused on helping customers and achieve the investment that they’re making. We win because of our people. We have fanatical service and support. Customers really see value in that.
I would say those are the reasons. Those are hard things to recreate or hard things for your competitors to reverse engineer. Those are reasons why we win.
When we lose, most often it’s because the buyer chooses to stick with the status quo. They have a limited budget and they decide to put that budget somewhere else, or they decide to limp along with the solution that they have today. Then, should things change they’ll reengage with us.
I’ve done some win loss calls where they said, “Oh, we looked at you a year and a half ago, and then we paused. Then we decided, oh, we have a much bigger initiative, and need to reevaluate an entire endpoint security stack.” That’s usually when you lose a deal or the deal just basically stalls out, and then you are surprised at the outcome of a loss. They decided to make a real change on the status quo, and we weren’t aware. This type of loss has to do with a change on the customer side. Shift in priorities, shift in dollars, shift in people. Those are some of the reasons of when we lose a deal.
Evaluate your buyer research at a deeper level by downloading our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to pages 168 – 171 of the PDF and review the buyer research phase of the Marketing Strategy. If you would like a hand with this topic, visit us in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.