Why are we winning or losing? How often do we win against competitors, or in the enterprise, or in the healthcare vertical? The answers to these questions are crucial to understand how to build a successful business and improve across sales, marketing, product, and services. How do you gather and analyze this data? Let’s dive into what a win / loss analysis is, how to calculate your win / loss ratios, and best practices for cutting the data to discover insights for improving those win rates.
What is a Win / Loss Analysis
A win / loss analysis is the process of gathering, measuring, and evaluating how many sales opportunities a business wins or loses and why.
How to Calculate Win / Loss Ratio
A win / loss ratio is calculated by dividing the number of won sales deals by the number of lost sales deals. Alternatively, to calculate your win ratio, divide the number of won sales opportunities by total sales opportunities. Win rate allows you to see how sales activity - total potential deals - is turning into paying customers. Meanwhile, the win / loss ratio allows you to focus on the deals that are won and lost, excluding the deals that are still in progress.
How to Do a Win / Loss Analysis
Step 1: Gather Data
The first step in completing a win / loss analysis is to gather the data needed. At the most basic level, you’ll need the name of each opportunity and whether it was won, lost, or still in progress. But beyond that, there are many different datapoints that will help in turning the data into actionable insights. There are a few data types and sources that can play a role here:
- Sales data: notes from the sales rep pursuing that opportunity, from details like company size to notes on why the deal was won or lost
- Prospect feedback: input from the prospect or customer, collected through win / loss interviews
- Demographic data: basic information about the prospect/customer and their company, collected through forms, conversations, or data appending services
- Marketing data: history of marketing interactions, as collected by a marketing analytics platform, such as website visits, traffic sources, and content downloads
Examples of Datapoints for Win / Loss Analysis:
Additional Resources for Gathering Win / Loss Data:
- Anova Consulting on the benefits and pitfalls of win / loss interviews: A Primer on Win Loss Analysis as a Competitive Intelligence Tool
- OpenView Partners’ guide to conducting win / loss interviews: How to Conduct Win / Loss Analysis to Drive Strategic Growth
- Pragmatic Marketing’s tips for a successful interview process: The Eight Rules of Successful Win / Loss Analysis
- HubSpot’s questions to ask in win / loss interviews: 11 Questions to Ask in a Win-Loss Review
- Software Advice on how to get sales reps to adopt the CRM and input data: Top 8 Ways to Ensure CRM Success
Step 2: Analyze and Visualize Data
Once you have your data collected, it’s time to dive in and analyze the results. For this analysis, start at the high level - an overall win rate metric for example - and then slice and dice the data based on different factors. Here are a few tips and strategies for slicing and dicing your win / loss analysis.
1. Overall Win Rate: graph the total number of sales opportunities created and the percentage of those opportunities that are won.
2. Overall Win / Loss Ratio: look specifically at win / loss ratios over time to focus on the deals that are closed
3. Win Rate by Business Segment or Vertical: graph the above data for each business unit or vertical
4. Win / Loss Ratio by Sales Rep Criteria: take a look at the win / loss ratio by sales team, sales rep tenure, or other factors that highlight the impact of sales hiring and training
5. Loss Reasons: a natural extension of your win / loss analysis is to look at why deals are lost
6. Win / Loss Rates Against Competitor: review how you’re succeeding against specific competitors by looking at wins and losses when coming up a specific competitor - or competitor segment (e.g. “cloud competitors” or “mobile competitors”)
7. Loss Reasons by Sales Rep or Segment: uncover trends in which segments or sales reps are struggling by looking at loss reasons by rep or vertical - you may find that product functionality limitations come up more in one segment, or that lack of budget is a repeated issue for a specific sales rep
8. Win Rate by Marketing Activity: see how your marketing can set up a deal to be won or lost by reviewing win rate by the prospect’s marketing behaviors - number of website visits, or specific content downloads, etc.
Step 3: Share Takeaways
The goal of this win / loss analysis is to uncover actionable insights - trends that can identify opportunities for improvement - and ultimately act on those lessons. Every team that plays a role in winning an opportunity - from sales to product to marketing to services - should review and act on the takeaways surfaced.
- Sales teams can leverage win / loss takeaways to improve training at the rep or team level.
- Marketing teams can optimize or launch campaigns to address obstacles in the sales process that are causing losses.
- Product teams can factor this feedback to focus on product improvements that will help win deals that are limited by product functionality.
- Services teams can similarly use this feedback to adjust the way they work with customers to address their concerns.
Sharing, discussing, and acting on win / loss analyses is critical to turn this process into a competitive advantage. So it's no surprise that many product marketers look at win rate as one of their core measures of success. Companies that implement an effective cycle of feedback and improvement continue to win and surpass others in their industry.