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The difference between winning and losing

The use of customer feedback is applied in many different ways across an organization, but sometimes the selling process is overlooked. I’m often surprised to learn that companies are not collecting feedback in an organized and standardized way after a new sales opportunity has been won or lost. Collecting this type of feedback provides two key deliverables worth mentioning: 

  • the difference between winning and losing
  • the new customer experience.

The difference between winning and losing 

One common analysis for this type of program is to segment results based on opportunities that were won versus those that were lost. There are three things to look for:

1. Strengths are identified by those areas where both segments (the won and lost opportunities) share favorable feedback. In this fictitious example, both the primary contact and project team would be considered strengths.

2. Low scores for both groups determine the weaknesses. Notice the lower scores for both demonstrating ROI and the overall sales presentation. Further investigation would be conducted to explore the impact of these weaknesses on the sales process.

3. The difference between winning and losing can be identified by looking at the gap between the won and lost perceptions. In this scenario, the proposed solution has favorable scores for the won segment, but is the lowest among the lost group. 

The New Customer Experience

Another way to use customer feedback from the sales process is to look at the results for opportunities that were sold next to results from a customer relationship assessment.

The key with this type of analysis is to filter the results for those who shared feedback in the sales assessment and the customer relationship assessment. These two elements together show customer expectations after the sales cycle compared to their current perceptions.

In this example graph, higher scores are provided for the customer relationship assessment (in brown), which is desirable. But, imagine the opposite scenario, where customer perceptions drop after the sales process. This could signal that unrealistic expectations are being set during the sales process. Knowing how customer perceptions change between the customer acquisition and retention phases can be used to enhance the experience for new customers.

Using the voice of the customer throughout all stages is important for any customer-focused company. Do you use customer input to improve your sales process? If so, how?

Note: This post was originally published in Customer Connection on 5/20/2009.

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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