It’s fantastic that you want to capture Win/Loss data. If your organization is currently making an effort in this arena, you’re in the minority and already ahead of the curve. Win/Loss analysis metric data is easily the most poignant source of information to draw from when making forward looking tweaks to your sales force. That is, of course, assuming that the data is accurate and based on candid responses from both your buyers and non-buyers.
It might be tempting to have sales reps gather Win/Loss Analysis data. Reps have an existing relationship with the contact, and their cost of information gathering relative to other resources in your organization is probably rather low. However, if your organization is implementing changes to the sales force based on bad data, the consequences are always going to be costly in the long run.
It is important to recognize some of the reasons why it is difficult for sales reps to gather truthful information:
- Prospects are uncomfortable giving criticism directly to sales reps. Even constructive criticism can be difficult to deliver to the person being criticized.
- Prospects often have issues with the sales rep or sales process that can impact their candor. If the rep’s sales process was not aligned to the prospect’s preferred buying process, the prospect may have felt pressured. In choosing between again facing their perception of pressure and lying to the rep in order to get them off of the phone, the prospect may choose to lie.
- Sales reps are not in an objective position to obtain feedback. They have an emotional stake in what transpired between them and the prospect. The rep’s feelings may taint their report of what the prospect actually said.
- Sales reps usually do not know the right post-sale questions to ask.
The only way to circumvent this problem is to implement a formal win/loss analysis program, with a dedicated and impartial Win/Loss interviewer. This individual might be someone in your organization, like a customer service representative or a sales ops personnel member, or it might make sense to engage an outside service for this task. If you’re serious about capturing rich and useful data from a win/loss analysis, don’t let your sales reps conduct it.