When a company loses an RFP to a competitor, most VPs of Sales will rely on their sales executives to find out why the deal was lost. Some companies have a formal 'Win-Loss Analysis' process in place that hires third-party research firms to discover the reasons why their company may be losing on deals.
The advantage for this is clear: You are undertaking a formal approach that asks specific questions to procurement staff or key decision-makers within client accounts that go beyond the anecdotal stories gathered by your sales executives. This information, when gathered over multiple accounts, can provide some insights into changes that your company can make to its product, marketing, pricing, and sales strategies to win new deals.
But can you seriously rely on Win-Loss Analysis to provide you with unbiased information?
Our experience shows that the clear answer is: No.
The reason for this is that, once your clients know that an external firm was commissioned, the information they provide is generic and biased, that sometimes it is close to being useless. The more important issue here is that you might get information on why your company is losing a deal, but not on why your competitors are winning. You need the true views of your customers towards your company.
Account Intelligence is the Answer
Account Intelligence methodology offers a proactive approach to understanding where you stand with a customer account – before, during or after an RFP process.
The aim should be to retrieve real answers from the key stakeholders at client organizations (gathered from sales), for a set of detailed questions specific to where you stand relative to competitors in the RFP process. Approaching these stakeholders to get answers to your questions is not easy, but completely doable.
The key is to ask your questions in the right way, at the right level of detail to the right executive. So, instead of asking a generic question such as: “What are the strengths and weaknesses of Vendor X in the analytics space?” or “What are your expectations on IT Infrastructure requirements for your big data deployment?”, we want to ask more specific questions, such as: “What selection criteria for the data warehouse are important to you when selecting analytics vendors?” or “How do you rate various vendors on their Map, Transform, and Cleanse approaches to building their data model?”
Asking such detailed questions gives you insight into what your prospects think about specific elements of your product or offer.
For use cases where you need “under-the-hood” information on how your company’s product is viewed either before an RFP is even issued or after you have lost the deal, the key is to talk to a range of individuals within a client account, including ex-executives and mid- to low-level IT management teams – not just procurement or key decision-makers but also other stakeholders that provide important input into the process. Perhaps your competitor has an incumbent relationship with your prospect, perhaps the IT architecture in your client account is biased toward implementations from your competitor, perhaps a key stakeholder within the client account is biased toward a specific vendor, etc.
The information that can gather at various levels within your client organizations and from ex-executives who have worked there can provide you with unbiased and detailed insights that go beyond sales anecdotes or simple Win-Loss analysis.
In all cases, we have found that proactive and continuous account intelligence provides more detailed and specific information that your bid teams can use to win.
For additional information about Accounts Intelligence, click here.
We can help you to gain this 'under-the-hood' information about your competitors. Book now a free 30-min confidential webinar with our Chief Analyst where we can determine together if our unique HUMINT* approach can have an impact on your organization.
*What is HUMINT? Our experience has taught us that non-public and internal information can be gathered only by interviewing the relevant executives. Insights developed by HUMINT (Human Intelligence) about pricing models, sales channels, product roadmap etc., would bring knowledge that can be extremely valuable to you when struggling to perform in the competitive landscape.