Win-Loss Analysis: 4 Tips for B2B Market Researchers

In this episode of the B2B Market Research Podcast, we’re going to talk about four techniques B2B market researchers can use to recruit customers for a win-loss analysis.

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Listen below:

Need to recruit customers for a win-loss study?

In this episode, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell discusses the pros and cons of four recruiting techniques for B2B market researchers and CI professionals.

Sean covers:

  • The benefits and shortfalls of using internal assets such as CRM data and sales teams.
  • Why you should go outside of your own data set.
  • Why it’s important to examine both internal and external data for insight on dead deals.

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#1 – Check out your CRM data

One of the most obvious assets for recruiting customers for your win-loss analysis study is your own customer relationship management (CRM) data.

However, using CRM data immediately presents challenges. You’re probably going to have less data about your losses in your CRM system than you’ll have about your wins.

Most sales team members don’t have sufficient incentive to put in a lot of great data about their losses. You’re going to have whole accounts where the best information you’ve got is the name of the account, some brief detail about the opportunity and zero stakeholder information. This could be because of a lack of sales leadership and management skill, having hired the wrong sales people, etc.

Consequently, you’re going to have challenges with the response rate when you do outreach. If you don’t have data on your losses, you probably won’t have the most appropriate stakeholder to reach out to for insight into that loss. This leads to faulty win-loss studies.

It’s a different story when the CRM data is good. Good CRM data opens up a whole world of useful analysis for your win-loss study. You can focus on accounts in a given region or country, examine accounts that only bought a certain type of product, or look at accounts that have only been purchasing from a particular competitor. Hence, when the CRM data is good, you can find excellent and specific recruits.

#2 – Ask the sales team

Choice Concept

Another common way to use your own assets to generate interviews with customers is to ask your sales team for leads. In my opinion, this is the worst route to take when recruiting customers for win-loss analysis studies.

Simply because, sales teams cherry pick the accounts they give you.

It’s rare for a sales team member to actually give you the contact info for the worst loss they have ever had. In fact, they are even less likely to give you contact info if that loss was the result of their own personal behavior or actions.

Instead, they might give you a list of losses that have to do with a certain category such as price increases or the absence of a certain product feature. This sort of selection will skew your study.

The sales team’s primary responsibility is to sell. That puts helping with the analysis on the back burner.

Also, if you choose to go through the sales team, be prepared to wait a while for a response.

The sales team’s primary responsibility is to sell. That puts helping with the analysis on the back burner. Unless your organizational culture is unusually awesome at promoting that sort of support, there will probably be a lot of lag in getting the contact info you want.

If you have bad data in your CRM system but don’t want to use external sources for recruiting, you can ask the sales team to assist with contact info, but be aware that the sample will probably be somewhat biased.

#3 – Go outside of your own data set

Let’s talk about some instances that would require data from outside of your company.

If you go outside of your own data set, you might learn of other areas where you could be successful. For example, in most competitive landscapes, there are competitors who successfully engage with slices of the market buyer, industry and sub-industry personas. If you are producing a similar product, these personas could mark an opportunity for your company.

For example, say Company A goes roaring after public sector sales while Company B doesn’t have many public sector sellers to meet that need.

This could be an opportunity for Company B, especially if their product is similar to Company A’s.

Since Company B doesn’t currently have significant public sector engagement, they won’t have any meaningful deals in their data that show losses to Company A for public sector deals. Therefore, Company B wouldn’t gain valuable insight from a win-loss analysis based solely on internal data.

In sum, if you’re looking for new areas of opportunity to grow your business, your own data isn’t fully sufficient for a win-loss analysis study.

In sum, if you’re looking for new areas of opportunity to grow your business, your own data isn’t fully sufficient for a win-loss analysis study.

The same is true for deals you were never invited to. This is an important area to consider, especially if it was a deal you should have been invited to.

To consider these losses, you will have to look outside of your own data. Say you sell to the mid-market really well and yet your competitor seems to have a lot of activity with mid-market customers you’d never even heard of before. Your sales team hasn’t mentioned them and they don’t show up on your CRM data. Time to turn to outside information.

You’ll also need to look at outside data when you’re dealing with new competitors. As in the competitors who are going to steal money and time from you next year. These could be venture capital funded companies, or companies with impressively innovative business models, etc. Since you’re not losing deals to them now, they won’t show up in your internal data as a loss. However, their trajectory indicates they could soon become a problem and you should investigate them. To do so, you will need to use outside data.

#4 – Examining lost deals? Use internal and external data.

Using both internal and external data can really help when examining canceled projects, projects without a budget or a lack of response to initial outreach.

You can gain a lot of insight into why these projects flat-lined when you marry your own data set with independent information on the competitor.

You can gain a lot of insight into why these projects flat-lined when you marry your own data set with independent information on the competitor.

If you source that competitor’s customers independently, you may find that for areas of the market where you have had a lot of lost deals, the competitor has been really successful. That could indicate a problem with your company’s marketing, customer engagement, or with the product itself. Either way, it’s valuable insight.

This podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights. Cascade Insights specializes in market research and competitive intelligence for B2B technology companies. Our specialization allows us to deliver detailed insights that generalist firms simply can’t match. Check out our array of free resources including our blogebookpodcast archive and newsletter.

And if you want to know how we structure Win-Loss studies for our clients – including how we handle recruiting competitor customers – don’t hesitate to ask.

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