Efrem Mallach: Win-Loss Analysis must be separate from sales management

Professor Efrem Mallach, Kea Company’s research director, has managed Win-Loss Analysis for many vendors. After a recent Gartner blog post, I asked for his thoughts.

Best practice win-loss

At the best-practice provider, writes Mallach: “our WLA program was totally separate from sales management. We promised sales reps that their data would remain confidential. Once word got out that we had refused a vice-president’s request for information on a specific campaign, we had a great deal of credibility with the sales force and had no trouble getting data. We also picked two respondents at random each month to win American Express gift cards, for a good deal of money back. After a few months most of the sales reps knew someone who had won cards, so the word got around that we were for real in that regard as well.

Comparisons matter

“One thing we learned is that win-loss analysis versus a single vendor is useless. When you win, the #1 reason is always good salesmanship. When you lose, it’s usually something like our price being too high or their consultant being in the competition’s pocket. What matters is differences from one vendor to another. When we compared the reasons we lost to one competitor with the reasons we lost to another the differences led to real insights – for example, price may have shown up more often, and higher on the list, in losses to one than to the other. This is useful even though looking at the reasons we lost to one told us nothing useful at all.”

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