Virtually all organizations track win rate as a key metric. As defined by number of closed deals compared to opportunities in the pipeline. But rarely do organizations know how to improve win rates. Which can have a significant impact on your business.
You increase win rates by being more effective in the “at bats” you have. You become more effective by learning from every opportunity. That is why you should be conducting Win/Loss interviews. And Sales Enablement needs to own the process. The rest of the post will focus on why.
Your Sales Enablement strategy needs to encompass different modalities and tactics to improve effectiveness. Win/Loss interviews must be one of them. The information obtained in this process is invaluable. Our annual Research Report has an entire section dedicated to Sales Enablement. The report references the attributes to a world class Sales Enablement strategy. This is a must read.
What are Win/Loss Interviews?
It’s straightforward. It’s an interview conducted with a customer or prospect. It is conducted after the buying decision has been completed. These should be conducted on all opportunities above a certain dollar threshold. The dollar value will be contextual and specific to the organization. Or if the opportunity reached a certain stage in the buying process.
In today’s world, the qualitative feedback obtained during the interviews is rarely actionable. That’s even if the interviews are being conducted at all. This is due to not asking the right questions. Or not having the right objectives. Often, the interviews have little to do with your personas and their buying process. The interviewers usually have no insight into the selling process. And 9 times out of 10 the interviews are only extracting “product specific” intelligence. Product info is important, but I can assure you. You are NOT always winning or losing based on the product.
The point being, you should not be solely focused on product features and functionality. You should be focused on persona and sales insights. You should be looking for buying process decision criteria and who is involved. You should be extracting competitive intelligence and their approach as to how they won that opportunity. You should be looking for gaps in the sales process. You should be looking for gaps in buyer’s content (i.e. ROI, Case Studies, etc.) And lastly, how you are or are not differentiated in the market. You can’t answer any of these, unless you ask the right questions.
How does Sales Enablement fit into this process?
The Sales Enablement team can support this initiative in a couple different ways:
- Option 1: Sales Enablement can outsource the process, but influence the questions and desired objectives. Sales Enablement would own the process, not the interview.
- Option 2: Sales Enablement can conduct the process and directly contact the customer/prospect. They would own the process and the interview.
There are pros and cons to each, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about why extracting insights from the process is so important. How the insights are extracted is irrelevant. As long as the information is being fed back into the sales organization. In an effective manner via your sales enablement program. This is just another means to enable the team.
Win/Loss interviews are no longer a nice to have. They are a must have. If you aren’t deriving insights from won/lost opportunities, then you’re missing valuable information. This can’t come from the sales team. It’s a biased point of view if either won or lost. It must come from the buyer.
Providing the sales team with won/lost opportunity feedback is a powerful tool. It can be incorporated into playbooks, content and the sales process. Thus making the sales team more effective. Remember, Sales Enablement exists to make the sales team more effective. This is how you help the sales team close more deals. Stop missing this opportunity. And provide your team with the tools and information they need to be successful.