Client Sales Research is Key to Company Growth

Aug 27, 2014
donreis

Winning and losing sales are part and parcel of business. But knowing you won or lost a sale isn’t enough. The question you need to ask yourself is “why”?

Why did you get the client to sign? Why did the prospect go with another company? These questions provide valuable insight and analysis into your sales process and can be instrumental in helping you gain new clients. But many companies do not ask these questions. It’s not because they do not care, but rather that they have relied on their sales professionals to give an accurate analysis of what happened.

This method has its merits, but it is not as informational as going directly to your client and asking them the same questions. If you won a client, asking them why they decided to go with you and how you helped them in their decision should be easy – and provide a great relationship-building opportunity. Furthermore, they are already more inclined to answer because they did choose you.

But what about the sales you lost? Those clients have no incentive to answer your questions and may in fact feel it is a waste of their time. Here is where it can get tricky. How do you incentivize a customer to tell you why they decided not to choose you? In writing an article about win/loss analysis, Jennifer Berkley Jackson had this to say:

The amount of that incentive varies depending on a person’s level and area of expertise: higher for executives and IT contacts, lower for non-management contacts in the purchasing department, for example. One creative approach is to offer to provide a donation to a charitable organization of their choice.

This incentive provides a means for additional conversation with the lost opportunity and shows you care about their opinions regardless of making a sale or not.

To grow as a company means data and client feedback is essential. A company should know what its current clients, target market, and prospective clients need or want. By asking why a client did or did not choose your company, you can understand what is and is not working in your sales process. This knowledge can lead your company to more positive outcomes as you adapt and change your methods of sales.

The analysis has an added intangible benefit. The clients who chose to go with you feel valued and for the clients who said “no,” you’re provided an opportunity for value-based contact — which could potentially lead to a win in the future. The knowledge you gain from this analysis of the marketplace can ultimately position you with a competitive advantage, because you learned what works and what doesn’t from the people who make decisions.

Win/loss interviews can provide insights into what customers are looking for, what issues they have with current marketplace solutions, and what supporting services would help them get the most from your products.

Read more about win/loss analysis from the following article published on the American Marketing Associations website.