I find myself in a spot somewhat similar to where I was five years ago, when I started this blog. I’m back in the job market and blowing the dust off my blog so I can share my job search experiences and some observations I’ve picked up since.
The blog began five years ago as I noticed that applying for jobs is a demoralizing, time-sucking pain in the neck. Nope, nothing has changed on that front, but I certainly knew what to expect. The primary difference is trying to outsmart SEO. Haven’t quite perfected that yet either, because you know, I’m a person, not a word cloud.
So the new, improved Business Badger is going to tell you about what I’ve learned in the five years since I last published this blog. I’m going to write about:
I’ve spent the past five years as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies in regard to win-loss analysis and customer experience. I have interviewed thousands (really, thousands) of buyers and customers. As I’ve said many times, it’s amazing what strangers will tell me on the phone.
They told me 1. what a specific sales process was like, 2. how competing products compared and 3. what their perception was of my client’s company, as well as my client’s competitors.
Then they told me the most important thing. They told me what was the primary reason they chose that $100,000 widget over the competing $100,000 widget. Seriously. I asked them as an objective third party and they TOLD me! In great detail! Even though I told them I was recording the conversation. Even though I told them I would provide their feedback to my client, whom I named. They told me anyway.
Where information goes to die
Here’s another lesson I learned about win-loss that absolutely blew my mind. I told my clients what their buyers told me, even quantified it across several buyers. I put it in a PowerPoint. I drew arrows, added bright colors and repeated several times the two or three key reasons they were losing deals. And you know what? More often than not, they went “hmmm.” “Interesting.” “Yes, that’s what we thought.”
Then you know what? THEY DIDN’T DO A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT! Time and time again, client after client. Nada.Embed from Getty Images
To be fair, some did take action and they saw their win rates increase. But it was a small percentage.
For those who did little to nothing, I’m astounded. Yeah, change is hard, I get that. But, really? Your buyers told you, verbatim, why you lost that deal. Then another buyer told you the same thing. And another. And another. I think they were trying to tell you something.
So, here is what learned what happens to most win-loss analysis results. “Great data. We’ll just put it over here. In the corner. Behind the fake plant.”
I think what happens is corporate leaders think they have to come up with a big, fat PLAN to address all of these recurring issues. Here is a secret. No, they don’t. They have to fix the first issue that keeps coming up. Then test to see buyers mention that again. If not, the problem was fixed. What’s next on the list?
For those who didn’t want to change or thought they couldn’t, eventually they got tired of hearing from me, telling them the same thing, buyer after buyer, quarter after quarter. They liked the idea of win-loss, but not the work. It’s hard work to change a process, or a product, or a sales leader. But sometimes the data is right there telling you exactly what to change and why. It’s telling you. From behind the fake plant. In the corner.