How To Use Win/Loss Analysis To Grow Your LMS Business

How To Use Win/Loss Analysis To Grow Your LMS Business
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Summary: The typical LMS vendor loses many more deals than they win. And often, you have no idea why, and may not even know who, you were up against. To learn from these loses, you need the answers. I interviewed one of the all-time great win/loss experts, Jen Berkley Jackson, to find out how she does it.

How To Grow Your LMS Business Using An Effective Win/Loss Analysis

I was an early adopter of using win/loss analysis to find out why we were losing, and why we were winning deals. It was truly amazing to learn how different prospects viewed us than what we assumed, and how much more we could find out by using a 3rd party than doing it ourselves. And then taking that knowledge and transforming our messages and de-constructing our sales approach did wonders for our growth rate.

One of the great win/loss experts is Jen Berkley Jackson of The Insight Advantage. I had the pleasure of working with her for many years fine-tuning our sales and marketing practices.

Jen Berkley Jackson, founder, and owner of The Insight Advantage, has extensive experience in using various methods (surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews) to integrate the voice of the customer into all functions, helping organizations increase market share, revamp product lines/services, and ultimately increase customer loyalty and retention. Throughout all of her work, Jen brings a strong commitment to helping organizations realize the link between increased profits and a commitment to making key business decisions with customers’ current and emerging needs in mind. Today, Jen works with a variety of companies to regularly feed win/loss insights into their businesses.

I recently interviewed her to understand how she does it, and what benefits she’s seen from it.

Q. How Do You Conduct Win/Loss Research?

Jen: The best way to gather this kind of input is through one-on-one telephone interviews that last no longer than 30 minutes. We maximize participation by reaching out to contacts after they have received an introductory email from an executive at our client’s company, which legitimizing the project and prepares people to hear from us as a 3rd party. Your new customers will be glad to participate without any incentive, but you will need to offer an incentive to people who did not choose to do business with you.

Q. What Are Some Tips You Have For LMS Vendors Who Want To Do Win/Loss Research?

Jen: There are a few critical success factors for win/loss research:

  • Get top-level support: having your top executives support a win/loss program is key since the results of these programs reach beyond any one department.
  • Timing is everything. You need to reach out to buyers right after the decision is made. So, try to avoid doing win/loss research in batches where there can be a long delay for some accounts. By following up with people soon after their sales experience, you can get the most current information and ensure that the contact remembers the details of their experience.
  • Develop an interview script that covers the key data you want to understand and includes both open and closed-ended questions, allowing you to quantify the results.
  • Collaborate with the sales team: it’s key to get their support and help in developing the interview script and interpreting the results.
  • Share results cross-functionally in the organization: you will get insights that go beyond sales processes, pricing, etc. Be sure that all trends are shared with the appropriate areas and integrated with data they may already be collecting. This helps ensure that there is a complete view of the customer’s world.

Q. What Are The Biggest Reasons That An LMS Company Would Bring You In To Help With Their Win/Loss Research Efforts?

Jen: There are a couple of reasons why companies bring me in:

  • Some LMS companies just don’t have the resources to devote to regularly following up on their won and lost opportunities.
  • It’s more likely that contacts will give an impartial 3rd party more honest input about the sales experience and their perceptions of your LMS vs. your competitors. Usually, I’m able to get a deeper level of detail that a salesperson who asks why a prospect didn’t buy from them.

Q. We All Understand Why Companies Want To Invest In Learning From Lost Prospects, But What Is The Benefit Of Doing It With Newly Won Customers?

Jen: We’ve found that newly signed customers have some great information to share with their new vendor about not only competitive strengths, weaknesses and even pricing details, but also insights about where they looked for solutions as well as valuable advice about how to improve the sales process.

One side benefit of talking to won customers is that they are impressed by a company who invests in such follow-up, and I’ve heard many comments about how the conversation that we have makes them feel even better about their choice.

Q. What Are The Top Benefits That Companies Can Experience By Doing Win/Loss Research?

Jen: The big ones are:

  • Shorter sales cycles.
  • Deeper insights than what salespeople put in the CRM.
  • A deeper understanding of your competition's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Information about how you’re perceived in the marketplace.
  • And of course, a higher close rate and more sales.