1. Drafting a Win-Loss Program Overview and Planning Timelines
Before beginning your Win-Loss program, you will want to frame the program and plan project milestones with 2 primary documents. Specifically, you want to create and get approval for, your Program Overview and your Project Plan.
The Program Overview is a simple 1-pager that conveys in a high-level way what goals you want to achieve with your Win-Loss program. Consider things like.
- What is the goal of your Win-Loss program?
- What key buyer information do we not yet have?
- Which customer segments are we really interested in pursuing?
- What do our customers like most about our competitors?
- Why do customers choose us over our competitors?
The Project Plan will be a more comprehensive document that thoroughly explains the steps that will bring you to the end and all of the resources that you will require to get there. Included in your plan should be the list of questions that you will ask your customers during the interviews. Also, be clear on what your deliverables will be, and when you will deliver them. Remember that scheduling interviews can be challenging at the best of times, so plan to allow time for your customer’s schedules. We have found that the average interview cycle can be three weeks once you take vacations, your day job and just synching schedules into account. It doesn’t matter the size of the interview pool – 10 interviews or 40 – you will need at least 3 weeks to complete your interviews.
Pro-Tip: During this phase, take the time to build cross-functional backing for your Win-Loss program, explaining to individuals not familiar with the practice what you will achieve with this unique style of market research. The more support you have, the more likely it is that your research will effect real change in your organization.
2. Scoping Your Project With Your Program Overview
It’s easy to lose focus and just start trying to solve the most-recent issue that bubbled up from the support team. Instead, scope your program to keep it focused on the issues discussed in your program Overview. If you are deliberate and careful crafting your Win-Loss Program Overview, keeping focus will mean achieving your goals more quickly.
To help maintain focus, your Program Overview should cover these 6 areas.
Query — What problem do you want the program to solve?
Setting — Why is your team implementing your Win-Loss program?
Limitations — What resource limits, whether time or people, are the on the program?
Scope — Understanding those Limitations, what can realistically be done?
Deliverables — What deliverables will the program?
Feedback – How will the insights from your Win-Loss program loop back to interested parties?
Pro-Tip: As the project progresses, re-connect with stakeholders across your company. Their considered input will likely help inform and refine your Problem Statement and interview questions.
3. Achieving Stakeholder Buy-In
The impact of a successful Win-Loss program is not in completing project goals, but instead in the changes that your program can effect in your organization. Even if you found the most-valuable insight ever produced, if no one listened and no once acted, it wouldn’t matter. This is why it is so important to get your leadership team onboard for your Win-Loss program before you begin.
The best way to improve buy-in is include cross-functional leaders in the program development stage. Ask them their opinions and perspectives. Tell them what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. Listen to what they have to say and incorporate their feedback. Understand how they would find your research helpful in their vertical and craft your program to meet their needs too.
Pro-Tip: Update stakeholders regularly. Let them know your plan progress and of any exceptions which may occur. Manage expectations while you can. If senior folks in your organization are up-to-date, aligned and enthusiastic, they will more likely champion your efforts and more importantly, act on your insights.