In this highly competitive world where turning a prospect into a customer is both difficult and costly, the insight you can obtain from talking to them post decision is invaluable. While it might be tempting to move on when a prospect says no thank you and continue your pursuit or onboard a new customer quickly, the discussion you can have with them about their decision can guide many strategic decisions moving forward.
This information can shape future sales efforts, inform on product enhancements, guide marketing strategies, and offer clarity on customer service requirements. Most importantly it informs you on what the customer who bought from you valued and what the prospect who said no did not. This post decision interview is also known as Win/Loss Analysis.
Most companies put expectations on sales teams to figure out how to sell to the prospect. It is their job to make it work as their compensation comes from their efforts. Although they are not alone in the process, as marketing gives them the support through awareness campaigns, lead generation strategies and other means, they tend to be the ones who receive the final verdict and report back on the outcome.
Some use this information to change their next pitch, but often beyond updating the broader team, conversations with the customer or prospect about their decisions tend to stop. The problem is that even when a prospect or customer gives a topline reason there is always more information to be learned. Therefore, the post decision interview is not about how well sales did, but uncovering broader company insights.
These interviews shed light on every aspect that influenced the purchase. They can offer context to opportunities a company has yet to capitalize with new prospects or foretell of issues that may affect the company in the future. By finding out what is behind the decision and asking probing questions about that specific reason, far greater context and definition is learned.
Now some might say that a prospect who declines has no interest in continuing any form of engagement, especially if there is little possibility they will buy from you in the future. This is a common belief especially in channels like software, that once a platform is acquired retention period tends to last a whole because of the integration. Therefore, a future sale seems very unlikely, unless your company has something different to sell. While the likelihood of them buying from your company may not occur in the future, if asked they will out of respect give their feedback and time on their decision. Of course, you must preface the request that you are not looking to sell them, but instead learn from their decision to help improve your company and bring great solutions to market.
It is better to have someone other than a sale’s associate conducts the post decision interview. This is not because the sales associate is incapable, but they have a different connection to the prospect that can create bias feedback. Prospects can be less transparent with a sales associate as they recall how much energy and time was spent trying to win their business and could hold back critical information that maybe less than positive. Someone within marketing, product development, operations or a third-party outside the company can be effective conducting this interview and removing the potential for bias feedback. Again, these interviews are not for scoring sales efforts or the team, but to give invaluable insight and enhance future actions to help the sales team close more deals, marketing communicate the best message, product development to give the right features and customer service to ensure a great experience.
Post Decision Interviews (Win/Loss Analysis) if done often can be an extremely useful and cost-effective way to get current market intelligence that can put your company ahead of the competition.
To learn more about Win/Loss Analysis review our workshop and see if your company fits the criteria to build a program.