After the match is before the match.
Whether you won the match – or a new business opportunity – or lost it, life goes on and the next challenge is waiting.
It is a tremendous feeling to have been successful in bidding for new business; it feels terrible to have lost out on the same deal – whether tears are shed or on the opposite, you pop the corks, - there are so many lessons you can learn and build on. The difference between winning and losing can be small and may even come down to the tiniest detail, one which will have a significant impact on your future win-rate.
But how often did you get the chance to really understand the why of a customer decision? Not debriefing after a long and difficult process is losing an opportunity to learn a lesson from success and failure, to improve the approach or to preserve a winning strategy. The only way of finding out the truth is talking to your clients and to investigate where things went well - or into the wrong direction.
Because it’s not just a job.
Asking your counterpart to discuss the process is not easy. You are emotionally connected with your team working on the deal or even with the customer. And winning or losing has direct impact on yourself. Or the customer might not yet be ready to conduct such a conversation with you. Even if they do, will your questions be answered candidly? Highly unlikely. Conversations to find out the answer are tricky, uncomfortable even. For instance, can you stomach the truth that the buyer did not appreciate your team’s hubris – they were over-confident they would win. But most importantly, will the customer feel comfortable enough to tell you?
Probably not. No-one feels particularly comfortable providing candid feedback to someone they feel is directly and personally affected by that feedback, or is someone they will possibly have to work with within the next months.
Therefore, the unbiased help of a third party can ensure a productive exchange with valuable insights.
Gain an objective view: frank answers from the right people are worth gold.
Neutral is key: Have someone neutral talk to the client, someone with no direct links at all with the most recent procurement or client team and who will be able to pinpoint with professional accuracy. It’s not only about insights into how your prospective client saw you in action, but also what were their main drivers and priorities that led to the decision.
Gelst has conducted several hundred win/loss reviews, which amount to the in-depth analysis of business deals worth around £2bn in total. That also amounts to a significant knowledge base of information on what gives you the best possible chance of being successful.
Lessons learnt from each step of actual sales cycles of your organisation paired with insights from the current client conversations, plus expertise and deep insights from more than a decade of win/loss reviews in numerous countries is used to debrief you and your team, help you resolve issues and identify coaching opportunities.
The outcome: a tremendously increased chance of winning the next deal.