Win/Loss Analysis – A Book ReviewPosted: July 26, 2016
Ellen Naylor, Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want. Park Hill Press, 2016, 214 pages, $29.95
First a disclosure: I have known Ellen for many years and am one (of many) thanked by Ellen in the afterword. I can honestly say that I had nothing to do with this book – although I wish I had.
Ellen here deals not just with competitive intelligence (CI), a vital subject as readers of this blog know, but specifically with its application in a vital and impactful area – win/loss analysis. She is not talking about the postmortems that are held after a successful, or unsuccessful, pitch or even bid, with the sales forces. That, she properly distinguishes as win/loss interviews.
Win/loss analysis is a form of directed CI. In it, someone, inside or outside of your firm, interviews the customers you have won, as well as those you have lost. The differences are night and day. As she puts it in her understated prose, “Most often the customer has a different perspective than your internal personal as to why the business was won or lost”. (p. 65) From my experience, the phrase should be “Almost always…”
But Ellen’s real-world approach, based on her own experience, is inclusive and collegial. My comments would cause immediate objections from the sales force. Her proven approaches are designed to avoid that, and in fact, leverage the sale force as a partner in the process.
In addition to showing just how effectively CI can be applied to generating powerful and valuable win/loss analyses, Ellen provides a wealth of great tips on preparing for and conducting elicitation interviews (pp. 145-68), as well as walking you through the win/loss interviewing process (pp. 83 et seq.) with suggestions that can apply in any interviewing context.
The book is thus a great addition to the CI practitioner’s or the DIYer’s library. Read it – and learn from a pro!