Five Tips for Tracking Accurate Win/Loss Statistics
Many high-tech vendors are able to generate win/loss reports from their CRM system (e.g., Salesforce.com), but they rarely pass the "sniff test." In other words, the reports are meaningless as they're bound by the old "garbage in, garbage out" rule. Fortunately, here are five tips you can follow to maximize the quality of your win/loss statistics:
1. Create a third opportunity close category. Everyone has "closed-won" and "closed-lost" (or some variants) as closed opportunity statuses, but few have a third category called "closed-no decision." This last category is useful for when opportunities fizzle out because the client has postponed the project, your sales rep's point of contact has left the company, or budget is no longer available. It's also useful for deleting duplicate opportunities. Remember: Closed-lost should only be used when a competitor has won the deal.
2. Make primary and secondary reasons required fields. When the opportunity is closed as "won" or "lost," I strongly recommend you make "primary reason" and "secondary reason" required fields. Yes, you may have a few sales people complain, but it's the only way to (easily) know the reasons you're sales team is commonly winning and losing deals.
3. You lose to one competitor, but you beat multiple competitors. Remember that when you lose a deal, it's (almost) always to one competitor. Upon transitioning an opportunity from "open" to "closed-lost," make it required that the user select the winning competitor from a pick list. (Not a free form field.) Be sure to add "unknown" to the list of competitors for instances where the customer refuses to divulge the name of the winning vendor. And add "other" for instances where the competitor is not on the list. The list of competitors should be a dropdown menu for closed-lost as only one competitor wins the deal. But be sure to display multiple check boxes for competitors for closed-won opportunities so the user can select all of the competitors that are in the deal. (I recommend forcing the user to select competitors they're facing in the deal when the opportunity reaches 30-50% close probability.)
4. Track both dollars and deals. I recommend that you construct win/loss reports that allow you to track your win/loss stats by both dollars in deals. Remember, your sales team may win 80% of the deals, but if they're bringing home just 20% of the dollars (thus, losing larger deals), then something is potentially very wrong.
5. Audit your reports before sharing with the executive team. I recommend you generate win/loss reports quarterly, perhaps 30 days after the end of a given quarter after the dust has settled. First, read the notes on the opportunities to make sure no closed-lost deals were misclassified and should have been closed-no decision deals. Next, split out the results by geography and send them to each regional sales director as a "sanity check." Give them a week to validate the results. Then when you compile the results together, your win/loss stats should be pretty darn accurate worldwide.
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