TALKING SALES 18: “Create Lasting Value with WinLoss Analysis”

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In this 3 minute interview with John Smibert, Cian McLoughlin gives us some insight into the value of Win Loss reviews to the selling organisation.

He emphasises that in order to sustainably win more business we need to learn from our wins and losses. We need to then apply changes as a result of what we learn to continuously improve our sales capability.
He proposes that win-loss analysis needs to become part of our sales process for every opportunity and that way we will win a higher percentage of business and create more value for our customers.

Cian McLoughlin is a guru in win/loss analysis, he’s a speaker, an author, and a leading advisor to the sales fraternity.

See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here

Interview Transcript

John: Welcome back! I’m here again with Cian McLoughlin. Welcome back, Cian!

Cian: Thanks! Nice to be here, John.

John: As a reminder, Cian is a guru in win/loss analysis, he’s a speaker, an author, and a great advisor to the sales fraternity.

Cian: Thank you!

John: Cian, when we last had a discussion you talked a lot about the win/loss and the process of win/loss, but we probably need to talk more about what you see as the value of doing a win/loss. Why should we – what I think is going to be a reasonable investment – in to doing a win/loss every time we either win or lose a deal?

Cian: Yeah. Look, that’s a great question, John. It comes down to a couple of things. Firstly, we need to think about the opportunity to extract value from every deal we do. At the moment, unfortunately, most of the time when we walk away from a losing deal we walk away with nothing. We’ve put a huge amount of time and effort, cost of sale and investment into it. It’s [01:00] really tough for the salesperson, for the sales leader, but also for the organisation in general, so we have to be extracting some value. So that would be the first thing I’d say.

But it’s more than that, because when we start to understand specifically where the gaps are in our sales process, or where the opportunities exist, or why we’ve been selected by a particular vendor versus a particular competitor. It allows us to very quickly hone in on the places that we have areas for improvement. It might be a particular sales training issue or an issue around negotiation, or equally it might be a part of our product or our service that differentiates us from our competition.

John: Right.

Cian: So, we take that learning and we not just improve that particular salesperson, we spread that across the organisation. We’re taking nuggets of gold from all of these different sales processes, and lifting and lifting our delivery.

John: So it’s going to be really important that we have some sort of process or methodology in place to take what we learn and do something with it.

Cian: That’s exactly right, and it’s a very interesting point because it’s relatively easy to go and sit down and spend [02:00] some time with a customer. The hard piece is actually saying “Okay, what did we learn and what are we going to do with it?” It takes a certain level of organisational maturity to do that, sometimes it can relate to the political environment of the organisation. They say “Yes, we’re up for this. We’re happy to take it on the chin, if it’s negative feedback, and actually do something with it.” So, that’s the critical piece: if we have these insights, what are we going to do with them?

John: And the temptation to blame people obviously has to be avoided too.

Cian: It does, and that’s something which Trinity is very focused on. We need to win the hearts and minds of the sales team. They need to realise that this is something which is designed to help them, to help them improve, to help them win more deals in the future. I’ve carried a sales bag for many years so it’s not about pointing the finger of blame, it’s about saying “How can we lift our game? How can we step further away from our competitors and that bit closer to our customers?”

John: Great advice, I think that’s brilliant! Thanks, Cian! Anything you’d add to that? What’s the bottom line that we really got to think about?

Cian: The bottom line for me is that any organisation, any sales organization that’s really serious about winning more deals this year, that’s really [03:00] serious about getting closer to the customer should strongly consider including win/loss as a standard part of their sales process.

John: Every time.

Cian: Every time.


See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here


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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

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