You can’t change what you don’t know, so many sales experts recommend you conduct a win/loss analysis to find the reasons behind every successful and unsuccessful account. A win/loss analysis helps you see what differentiates a winning customer experience from a poor customer experience, so you can do more of what works.
We encourage you to dig even deeper, to go beyond the standard win/loss analysis to uncover communication gaps – both between your company, customers and internally between your departments. Chances are these communication gaps are costing you big dollars.
According to CEB, ” communication issues are a big deal to customers, to the extent that many customer service interactions are 4x more likely to build customer disloyalty than they are to build customer loyalty.”
Here’s how to make sure that won’t happen to you.
Identify What Matters Most to Customers
The easiest way to discover what matters to customers is to read the work other companies have done on the subject. There’s a ton of research on it.
For example, you’ll find out that, according to CEB, 62% of customers expect to have their issue resolved the first time they call. According to Velaro, they also expect to have it resolved quickly with minimum wait times. In fact, Velaro discovered that nearly a third of customers would prefer that your agents never put them on hold.
CEB adds that over half of customers become disloyal when they get transferred from one contact in your company to another, especially when that means repeating their challenge from scratch.
Understanding these statistics can help you navigate through your win/loss analysis, but we highly encourage you to take the next step and get direct feedback from your customers and prospects about your specific sales and customer success processes.
You can start with online surveys, but whenever you can, interview them on the phone or in person. According to Cian McLoughlan, CEO of Trinity Perspectives and former business manager at SAP, that will help you walk away from your sales process with something incredibly valuable, whether you won the sale or not.
In an interview with Strategic Selling, McLoughlan added that customers are open to helping you learn your way to growth if you create the right environment.
“You have to explain to them what you’re going to do with the information, what you’re not going to do with the information. We’re not going to use it to try and get back into the sales cycle by the back door. We’re not going to use it to beat up on ourselves… We’re going to use it to improve, we’re going to use it to refine what we do, maybe to innovate our product or our service or our pricing model to better serve your needs, and hopefully we’ll earn the right to get back and win your business again in the future,” he said.
You can watch the entire interview here:
Source: Strategic Selling via YouTube
Analyze Customer Communication Throughout Your Sales Cycle with Customer-Facing Teams
After you get the information from customers, we recommend getting your team together and analyzing customer expectations versus what actually happens during your sales cycle. Start with prospecting and continue all the way to closing the sale or even having a prospect disappear.
Source: Sales Benchmark Index (SBI)
You can do it through reports, in group simulations, or by sitting one on one with every team member.
Whichever you choose, remember McLoughlan’s advice about setting the right environment to get customer collaboration and apply it to your team as well.
To get your employees to collaborate, you must make sure they know you’re not out for a witch hunt. “The way you and your leadership respond to rough buyer feedback will steer your team’s attitude and interest in win-loss interviewing. Our clients that see the strongest returns on investment… both in revenue and in sales performance approach win-loss interviewing as a way to improve – and not as a way to spotlight poor performance,” writes Melissa Short, VP of product management at Primary Intelligence.
She recommends that “executives, directors, and managers… abandon the question, which team member is responsible for this lost opportunity? And replace it with, what can we learn from this, and how can we avoid this mistake in the future?”
Concerned if your win/loss program is actually a witch hunt? Check out this infographic from Primary Intelligence:
Source: Primary Intelligence
Analyze Inter-Departmental Communication Gaps
When you actively search for communication gaps between your team and your customers, you’ll more often than not discover communication gaps between your own internal departments.
Let’s take a very common customer complaint. Imagine having to explain an issue from scratch after being transferred to another agent, or when they try to pick up service on a different channel than the one they originally started on. Or when a single customer who communicated with your marketing team on Twitter, then switched to email, then tried the phone, odds are a separate agent answered each time and is unaware of previous interactions they had with your company.
Usually, one agent has no idea what another agent has already done, but that’s easier to find out if they’re in the same department, working toward the same goals.
But what happens across departments?
The product team develops a new feature, which marketing pushes via different channels, but prospects tell the sales department this feature isn’t critical to them, and customers complain to customer service that the feature doesn’t work.
Alternatively, the customer service team doesn’t know to identify high risks or hot opportunities and fails to transfer necessary data to other departments.
And what that leads to is lost sales and upsell opportunities.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Check out our 5 step guide for turning account management into an organization-wide effort. We promise you’ll learn a lot, laugh a little, and hear a couple of customer success executives sing.
Commit to Increasing Your Win Percentages This Year
It’s likely you already have a lot on your to-do list, and it’s tough to even think about adding new processes. But remember the mantra “work smarter, not harder”. It’s OK if it takes you a little longer to implement, but the sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll start seeing higher win rates, the sooner it’ll become easier to close or upsell deals.