article | February 11, 2011
Small Sample, BIG Data & Why You Won or Lost, it’s NOT What You Think
So today I wanted to provide some deeper color around each of the above topics. First, the reality is you absolutely CAN uncover strong data with a minimal sample size while performing Win Loss Analysis. At Sales Benchmark Index we focus on sales force effectiveness and we do that through 13 Sales Force Drivers.
Recently I engaged with a couple of clients in doing some early discovery of where possible breaks were in their sales force. One client in particular was a perfect example of why a small sample can produce strong data. During early surveys into their customer base, in fact within a couple of hours, I had a data set of 20 customer responses. All had purchased from this client and over half had also purchased from their biggest competitor. With 20 survey responses I already had multiple common theme areas of needed improvement popping up.
So can a minimal sample size produce strong data? ABSOLUTELY! Win Loss Analysis is a dynamic process, the key is to hone in on what’s most important to you and your buyers. Very few data points are needed in Win Loss Analysis to provide you the information you need to make better decisions in all areas of your organization. Ultimately that will help achieve your current sales goals. Remember, Win Loss Analysis is most likely not going to show holes in your sales folks per say, instead probably going to show holes in your marketing organization, product development area and overall poor alignment of sales, marketing and product. The key is we all want to win more and lose less, so ALL data can be helpful.
Next, your team is more often than not, NOT losing because of price and they are NOT winning because of relationships. I’ve discussed before that Sales Process alignment with your customers buying process is extremely critical and we know most organizations have loosely defined Sales Processes at best. And I won’t argue that strong relationships in an account certainly can help. However, recently I’ve tried to uncover some information around these common misconceptions. Recently, I witnessed this first hand in performing some discovery through client/customer surveys. When given a list of 5 reasons for NOT selecting my clients’ solution, the answer selected the fewest percentage of times, you guessed it PRICE. Customers are far less price conscience than you want to believe. Second, when given 5 reasons for choosing my clients solution, the answer selected 4th lowest of 5, you guessed it again, RELATIONSHIP with the rep(s)/client. In fact, a recent survey by Ken Allred, CEO of Primary Intelligence, found that for a customer, price is the reason for not buying vs. buying less than 10% of the time and relationship is the reason for buying vs. not buying less than 5% of the time.
So don’t be fooled. Win Loss Analysis no matter how small the sample set can provide great returns in form of data analysis. Just as importantly can shed light on the real reasons you are winning or losing, not the commonly miss perceived ones.