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Win-loss analysis template

How to conduct a win-loss analysis

This template is designed to help you organize and analyze your qualitative win-loss data to identify themes in wins and loss reasons.

Use template

Last updated

1 June 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Cathy Heath

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A win-loss analysis is integral to evaluating your company's success. Figuring out why you win some sales and lose others can provide valuable insights into business operations and employee productivity.

By reviewing sales data and interviewing customers, you can see what works and what doesn't. After conducting this type of analysis, the information you receive will allow you to streamline sales tactics and make data-driven operational decisions.

Let's take a closer look at win-loss analysis and a handy template you can follow.

What is a win-loss analysis?

A win-loss analysis is a set of steps to understand why and what influences your customers to make specific decisions during the buying process. Unlike regular surveys that evaluate customer satisfaction, a win-loss analysis is a more comprehensive process that focuses on the following:

  • Customers who chose to buy or work with you

  • Customers that chose to buy or work with the competition

  • Sales representative behavior

  • Quantitative and qualitative sales data

This analysis allows you to identify market trends, customer preferences and competitor positioning so you can make data-driven decisions about your sales, marketing, growth, and product or service development processes. 

A win-loss analysis can help you understand the following:

  • Who is your top competition? 

  • How customers make purchasing decisions

  • What is your company's reputation in the market? 

  • Whether your pricing is competitive

  • The effect of your sales and marketing programs

Overall, this analysis allows you to evaluate your business performance by studying the wins and losses of your sales team. It provides an in-depth look into your ability to outrun the competition and streamline the sales process according to customer needs.

Benefits of a win-loss analysis

The goal of a win-loss analysis is to provide insights into the effectiveness of your sales strategy. Data collected with the analysis can give your sales representative valuable information about what criteria drives your customers' decisions.

By focusing on why customers make or don't develop alliances or make purchases, you can adjust and improve the sales and marketing process and take customer relationships to the next level. New retention strategies can be developed based on customers' satisfaction with your products and services, helping secure market share. 

The win-loss analysis allows you to evaluate:

  • The effectiveness of your sales and marketing methodology compared to competitors

  • Differences between perceived product or service value and its real value in the market

  • The health of your customer relationships

  • The integrity and positioning of your marketing strategy

For your sales team

Your sales team can benefit from the win-loss analysis by identifying why a particular deal was won or lost. This uncovers the strengths and weaknesses of the entire team and each sales representative.

The analysis provides valuable data that creates a learning opportunity and gives your sales team an unbiased evaluation. This information can help pivot the sales process and turn losses into wins.

For your marketing team

A win-loss analysis can provide insight into how well your marketing team is doing. If the marketing promise doesn't align with product or service effectiveness, the analysis will show this.

You can also gain customer data for personalization purposes. It can help improve the marketing message and ensure its alignment with the customer's pain points.

For your development team

If you’re planning to develop new products, a win-loss analysis can help you understand where your investment has the most potential. For many companies, this analysis can provide insight into product design and usability as well as inspiration for new product or service ideas.

When to conduct a win-loss analysis

The more raw data you have for a win-loss analysis, the more insight it can provide for your team. That's why the best time to conduct a win-loss analysis is when:

  • You have a large number of won and lost deals to analyze

  • A big deal has been closed by your team or the competition's team

Once you conduct your first win-loss analysis, you don't stop. Each time you close a new deal, you gain data for win-loss analysis. This continuous process can provide regular insight into your sales and marketing success. 

Also, don't wait too long to perform the analysis. With time, the customers' memory fades, and you can't get quality data for analytics. A good rule of thumb is to conduct a win-loss analysis two weeks after finishing a deal.   

Win-loss analysis template: customer interviews

The most important part of your win-loss analysis is the interview you conduct with the customer (or lost customer). This win-loss analysis template can help you structure the interview in the most effective way possible.

Keep in mind that the shorter you make the interview, the more likely you are to avoid interview fatigue and get usable answers. Also, stress that you value their honest opinions, emphasize how the feedback will improve your business, and thank them for their time. 

What is the biggest factor that influenced your purchasing decision?

If a customer provides a one-word vague answer, such as "price" or "time issues," you need to continue asking to get a real reason, such as "your product helped me solve my problem" or " "the competitor's product seemed easier to get."

What is your role in making purchases for your company?

This question is essential for B2B companies. The goal is to determine who the decision maker(s) are and what role they play in the organization. 

What were your decision criteria?

Determine whether they defined criteria in advance or came up with them during the selection process. Make a note of whether the decision criteria matched what your product or service actually provides.

What does your decision-making process look like?

Find out how the company or customer makes a decision about a purchase or alliance. Who else is involved in this decision? Do they give themselves time to think or make fast (or impulsive) decisions?

Did you read reviews or get references about the product?

If they answer "yes," find out about the resources they used and what exactly other people or companies had to say about the product and your brand.

What was your experience with our representatives?

Find out about the sales team and the customer service team. If they had a negative experience, ask what went wrong exactly. And ask what they liked about your competitor's sales team.

What attracted you to our products or services initially?

Try to get an answer that goes beyond "price" or "appearance." Ideally, it would be a list of features and functionalities that meets their criteria or wish list.

Can you rate our products and services?

Give them a scale to work with and ask why they chose a particular number. Always encourage a straightforward answer by noting that even negative ratings are highly valuable.

Why did you decide to buy/not to buy?

The answer should give you an understanding of why the customer chose (or didn't choose) you over the competition.

Did our team make it easy for you to decide on a purchase?

While you may think you’re guiding a customer down the sales funnel smoothly, they may not feel this way. Find out why so you can improve customer touchpoints.

How do we compare with other companies in the industry?

If the customer conducted research before making a purchase, they could provide valuable insight into your position in the market.

Win-loss analysis template: buyer survey

If you don't have an opportunity to conduct an in-depth interview (e.g., if the number of buyers is too high), you can arrange a buyer's survey. 

Examples of questions to ask include:

  • Are you the only one involved in making the buying decision?

  • What is your role in selecting a product or service for the company?

  • How many companies or products did you review before making a buying decision?

  • Did the brand you finally selected offer the lowest price?

  • What is the biggest strength and weakness of the product you selected? (open-ended question)

  • What else influenced your buying decision?

  • How would you rate the customer service (1–10)?

  • How would you rate your experience with the company (1–10)?

  • How would you rate the sales team (1–10)?

  • How would you rate the product’s functionality (1–10)?

  • Do you have any suggestions for product improvements?

  • Do you have any suggestions for service improvements?

  • How likely are you to buy again (1–10)?

  • How likely are you to recommend the brand to someone else (1–10)?

Try to maintain a delicate balance between multiple choice, scales, and open-ended questions. While open-ended answers provide more insight, they take longer to analyze.

How to conduct a win-loss analysis

When conducting a win-loss analysis, you can follow this template. You may need to adjust the steps depending on the industry you’re in.

1. Identify the win-loss ratio

The win-loss ratio is the relationship between won sales opportunities and lost sales opportunities. To calculate the win-loss ratio, you need to know the number of wins and the number of losses. Once you have these two values, you can divide the number of wins by the number of losses to find the ratio. 

The formula looks like this:

Won opportunities/lost opportunities = win/loss ratio

You can calculate this ratio for the entire company, for each sales representative, or for each product, service, or potential alliance. You can also evaluate this ratio for your competitors.

2. Identify the goals of the win-loss analysis

Understanding what you want to get from a win-loss analysis can help you find the right data and get relevant insights. 

Examples of win-loss analysis goals include:

  • Improve the sales or marketing strategy

  • Improve product functionality

  • Develop new business partnerships or alliances

  • Improve service benefits

  • Increase customer satisfaction rate

  • Learn more about customer behavior

  • Identify opportunities for acquiring market share

You can have several goals for your win-loss analysis. As your business requirements change, so can the goals, which strengthens the importance of regular win-loss analytics.

3. Gather customer data

The key to gathering quality data for analytics is identifying the right people to participate in interviews and surveys. Keep in mind that only about 50% of customers will be willing to help you with the analytics. That's why you may need several deals to close before gathering data.

Ideally, you should invite a similar number of customers from the group that made a purchase and the group that chose another brand over yours. The lost customer group should also include churned customers, not just those who initially refused to purchase your product.

4. Conduct an interview

If you’re planning to conduct an interview, you need to choose a person or people who will do it. You could decide to delegate interviews with won customers to sales and marketing experts. Meanwhile, it may be best for leaders and executives to conduct interviews with lost customers.

Next, you need to arrange interviews. Each interview should take around 30 minutes. If an interview ends quickly, you won’t get sufficient in-depth information. Interviewers should be prepared to "dig deeper" by using open-ended questions and asking for more comprehensive answers.

5. Analyze data

Once you have all this raw data, you can analyze it to achieve the initial win-loss ratio analysis goals. You can create graphs or organize data by customers, products, results, and much more.

Many tools exist to organize the win-loss data for your company. One of them is Dovetail. You can use a quick start template to identify patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement.

As soon as you gain insights, you have to act upon them quickly. Win-loss analysis data is highly useful but comes with an expiration date. The sooner you implement it in your business strategy, the more likely it is to provide the expected results.

Taking full advantage of the win-loss analysis

A win-loss analysis is an excellent way to gain valuable insight into your sales and marketing strategies. It helps you understand how well your efforts fare against the competition's and discover why you’re losing customers.

This analysis is a continuous process that requires regular data gathering. You can start by taking advantage of the generic win-loss analysis templates. Then, once you figure out what works for your business, you can create a template that suits your company's needs perfectly.

Win-loss analysis template

This template is designed to help you organize and analyze your qualitative win-loss data to identify themes in wins and loss reasons.

Use template

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