All too often, the immediate response is to figure out what went wrong, who committed the error, and how it can be avoided next time. This is human nature. We’re problem solving machines.
Loss data is important, but arguably not as important as data about what went right. Asking the correct questions in a Win analysis will provide your organization with clear guidelines of how your customers want to be sold to. Here’s a quick list of popular Win/Loss analysis questions that will bring your organization actionable answers:
1. Why did these customers buy from you? – The most basic question. Ask and then be quiet. Sometimes the customer gives a fantastic, explanatory answer, sometimes they just want to move on. Don’t question or attempt to qualify their response, just take notes.
2. What business problem did your product or service solve? – Your customer had a particular business problem that they wanted to address. What pain were they feeling as a result of the business problem? Be explicit about asking what the pain was, who in their organization was feeling it, and what kind of turmoil, stress, or cost was associated with that pain.
3. Who was the competition? – You always have competition. That competition may take many forms. Maybe it was a vendor who offers a similar service or product, but for every purchase you are also competing against the buyer’s desire not to spend money. That buyer will always weigh the options of solving the business problem themselves or doing nothing and dealing with the pain. In the customer’s mind, those are always potential solutions. Figure out who or what solutions you were competing with and the customer’s perspective on the relative merits and faults of each solution considered.
4. What was the compelling event that spurred the purchase decision? – There are usually one or more compelling events in a purchase decision that push the prospect to buy. These factors may or may not be what you suspect. They could be internal events (budget or project deadlines), external (keeping up with the competition), or simply a general feeling that it was time to upgrade. You want to be able to recognize trends in your market in hopes of finding opportunities as these compelling events arise for them.
5. What was unimportant to you in the sales process? – This is the reciprocal of the more common question of what was important to the purchase decision. It’s equally important to know what they don’t care about so you don’t waste valuable time, material and mindshare on non-essentials in the future
6. How did you get the information to make the decision? – The emphasis here is on the word how. What you’re looking for is the channel of communications that will best reach other prospects. Savvy buyers look for information in certain places. You want to determine the best way to reach like-minded prospects.
7. When did you make the actual decision? – A clear answer to this will give you insight into the length of the buying process. Ask both when they started looking, and when they made the purchase decision. This info will be useful in dealing with future prospects because based on time alone, you will have a rough approximation of where they might be in their purchasing decision.
These 7 questions are not meant to be comprehensive, but the information that can be gathered from them will help direct your organization’s future sales efficiency. If you aren’t using some version of these already, try them out.