Whether it’s drafting up case studies, researching white papers, or generating sales sheets, product marketers are continuously tapping into the voice of their customer. Understanding what the product or service is that you’re offering and who your target audience or customers are translates directly into how you take your product to market. Unfortunately, discovering and defining audience profiles and buyer personas is incredibly challenging and, in some industries where buying criteria are constantly shifting, requires a significant investment of time. To address these challenges, product marketers have always relied on win/loss analysis: a qualitative discovery of why a visitor turned into a customer or why they moved on to a competitor. Today, to help product marketers approach this critical analysis, we’ll walk through five tips for conducting a productive and successful win/loss interview. 1. Be Proactive For most companies, the primary focus of marketing and sales is to drive customer engagement that eventually leads to a purchase or conversion. Often times the focus can be so strong, especially within the B2B space, that opportunities to conduct win/loss interviews are completely overlooked—once a lead closes, it’s on to the next lead. This is where product marketers need to be proactive in soliciting the sales team for win/loss opportunities and helping set up meetings with new customers or lost opportunities. Start by creating reports and dashboards within your CRM tool or put a system in place so that you’re alerted by your sales team after recent wins or losses. 2. Be Timely When setting up win/loss interviews, take into consideration the time that’s required for onboarding or training. Even after a successful sales cycle, new customers may need time before providing any form of valuable feedback. Too early an interview and the feedback might be minimal or premature. Too late an interview and the customer might focus on features and benefits or recent issues rather than the reason why they chose to purchase your products or services over your competitors’. For losses, schedule interviews immediately as interest and engagement wanes much quicker. 3. Ask For Candor When conducting win/loss interviews, be explicit and request candid feedback. Remind interviewees that these analyses are used to improve the sales process, marketing programs, the product or service offerings, and the overall experience when customers and prospects engage with your brand. Furthermore, since product markers operate outside of the sales organization and the sales process, positive and negative comments can be bubbled up as general feedback rather than criticism about particular individuals. 4. Ask Critical Questions Keep in mind that time is limited during these interviews. Always ask the critical questions:
- Describe your primary reason for considering our product or service.
- What other companies did you consider during the evaluation process?
- Describe your selection process.
- What were your decision criteria?
- What were the reasons for selecting the company you ultimately chose?
- Evaluate the sales process.