Why Sales Should Not Do Win Loss

Summary / TL;DR: Carrying out a Win / Loss interview is a skill, often best carried out by an independent specialist. Sales teams are often not people we should expect to carry out this task.

Many of the customers that we speak to have some elements of a Win / Loss program in place. More often than not, though, this program consists of the sales team asking the customer for feedback at the end of a transaction as to why that deal was won or lost. 

Now, this usually ends up with a single word Win / Loss code within the CRM system. (check out the other video on the site where we talk about the six key flaws of such Win / Loss code systems.) But, let’s look at this from a sales team perspective and why, in our view, field sales salespeople should not be undertaking Win / Loss analysis. 

First, by the very fact they are a salesperson immediately puts into jeopardy the setting for a frank conversation with the customer. More often than not, the customer is going to be guarded with their responses, either because they believe there’s a sales agenda in place or because they usually got to know the salesperson quite well and they don’t want to give confrontational and / or negative feedback about that person or that person’s company.

Secondly, sales teams are usually not equipped or trained to have Win / Loss interviews. It is a skill to be able to not only ask questions that are not leading or close-ended, but also to provide a framework for structured feedback. It takes training and experience. And for many, this is not something that comes naturally.

Finally, the sales team may not be giving the Win / Loss process as much time and attention as it deserves. Usually, their goal is to get a plausible Loss code so they can place it in the serum system and then administratively close the opportunity. And in many cases, they are already thinking about the next deal or the next customer, which is exactly what we want the sales teams to do. 

So you can see, we say all of this not a negative way, but in a matter of fact way – sales teams are not trained and oftentimes not motivated to undertake that deep Win / Loss  analysis that will illuminate areas in your whole offer – where you’re doing really well and where you could do better. 

Here at SteelPoint Research on the other hand, that’s all we do. We use industry-proven frameworks and methodologies and have all the necessary experience and training to carry out these independent Win / Loss interviews with the sole goal of getting candid, unvarnished and feedback directly from the interviewee. 

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