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This two-part article examines the purpose of win/loss analysis, the primary steps to be taken, and how to use the data to bolster revenue.

Win/loss analysis is something any company can do. Why companies forgo this important step is a mystery. It does take some effort, but when done properly win/loss analysis provides clarity and insights into customers' perceptions of your product, experiences throughout the sales cycle, and expectations created by your company messaging.

As a result, win/loss analysis plays a key role in bolstering revenue, which every company seeks regardless of the economic environment.

In the first part of the article, we'll examine the purpose, definition, and metric associated with win/loss analysis.

Institutionalizing win/loss analysis will contribute requirements to product development and feedback about messaging to marketing; it may also help uncover new sales strategies and initiatives. However, to be beneficial, win/loss analysis needs to be done in a timely fashion and with accuracy and objectivity.

Let's first take a look at the purpose of undertaking win/loss analysis. Essentially, a win/loss analysis helps a company answer these questions:

  • Why do customers select your products or services?
  • Why did your prospects select your competitors' products or services and why they didn't select yours?
  • How do your competitors position themselves when they compete with you?
  • How do your customers and prospects perceive your sales and marketing efforts?
  • How do your customer's and prospects perceive competitors and their products/services?
  • What are the most important criteria a customer looks for when selecting products or services in your category?
  • How effective is your marketing and sales team in presenting your company, your value proposition, and your products or services?

It's not uncommon for companies to say, "We know the answer to these questions." When we ask how they have come by the answers, they say, "From what our sales team brings back." Perhaps you've even heard something similar from one of your salespeople: "We could have won this deal if we had X feature in the product."

The upside of anecdotal information is that it's very affordable; the downside is that it tends to be reactive, it lacks objectivity and in-depth insights, and it tends to be too narrow—merely what the field thinks it needs to close a deal.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM