Win-Loss Research

Business Development and Sales Teams who make major pitches for large projects, regardless of the industry, rarely know why they won or lost the business.

Win-Loss Research

They may have their suspicions, but those suspicions are usually nowhere near the truth. Some Sales Teams follow up to try to find out why they lost, but they are typically unable to discover the real reasons. Sometimes the best learning is discovering how and why a project was won—but in the excitement of winning, most salespeople don’t bother trying to understand why they won. Chances are the customer would lie and cover up the real reasons anyway.

Independent third-party research professionals (that’s us) who are not involved in the sales process can learn the cold, hard truth. There are two basic approaches Decision Analyst recommends. The first is for really large projects where in-depth analysis is required. For these types of projects, the best method is to have a highly trained qualitative researcher conduct in-depth interviews. Each in-depth interview lasts approximately one hour, and every detail of the purchase decision is examined. Who influenced the final decision? What role did each person play? What sources of information and verification were sought? How did the Sales Team perform? What role did the reputation of the company play? How did pricing compare, and so on? Another 50 questions (at least) are asked and answered, the results are analyzed, and an analytical report prepared.

The second approach applies to industries where Sales Teams are making a large number of pitches, proposals, or presentations on an ongoing basis. Here the recommended method is to conducts executive-level telephone interviews. Each interview would be conducted by a highly trained, senior executive interviewer, using a carefully designed questionnaire. The goal is to interview one or two senior decision-makers at the prospect’s (or customer’s) company in order to collect information on Sales Team performance, pricing, terms, and so forth. The questionnaire must be carefully tailored to each industry and product category. Quarterly, or every six months, all the completed surveys are tabulated and analyzed, and a report with recommendations is presented to the client.

A win-loss research program yields the greatest benefit if pursued long-term on a consistent basis. It takes time, effort, and training to bring about positive changes in an organization and in its Sales Teams.

Win-Loss Research Services

Decision Analyst has 45 years of experience in helping companies improve their marketing and their sales presentations. If you would like more information, please contact John Gachelin, Senior Vice President via email at or Bonnie Janzen, President via email,, or by calling 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.