In every market and economic environment, there are winners and losers. Currently, there are a disproportionate number of companies losing due to the recession. That said, losing does not have to be a foregone conclusion. By adapting your go-to-market strategy & tactics, organisations can avoid leaving money on the table.
There is a big risk to not adapting your approach. Following the same playbook and tactics that you relied on over the previous 6 to 12 months has large pitfalls. By using the data you have at your disposal wisely, you can turn the ship around and close more deals successfully in the second half of the year.
Successful companies adapt by applying win/loss analysis data to macro- and microeconomic circumstances, clearly identifying where they are losing & where they could be closing more deals successfully. Armed with this knowledge, go-to-market leaders can make data-driven decisions and allocate resources to avenues that yield positive results.
Acting now is critical. In fact, many organisations risk even meeting their re-forecasted numbers and potentially their jobs, without these learnings. Don’t let your H1 problems become your H2 problems.
Of course, we’d rather you avoid that mistake and we’re here to help provide some guidance on how to use win/loss analysis to adapt and win more.
Metrics to Review
First let’s look at the metrics you will want to review in your Win/Loss analysis. You’ll want to analyse a few data sets in order to get a complete picture of where you are winning and losing.
Win / Loss Analysis for New Sales you will want to analyze:
- Persona / Role
- Use cases
- Closed Lost Reasons (which should include data on when you lost to a competitor)
Churn Analysis and analyse churn by:
- Persona / Role
- Cohort by Tenure
- Downgrades vs outright cancellation
- Use cases
Win / Loss Analysis for Expansion Sales:
- All of the above data points
- Upsell vs cross-sell wins and losses - are you selling to new stakeholders or only upselling to existing ones as an example.
Once you’ve analysed this data you will begin to see historical trends on where your organisation is having the most success and where you are having the least.
While this information is a great start, there is a bit more work to be done in order to identify exactly how you should adapt for the second half of the year. Next you will need to put Win/Loss into context of the current macro and micro circumstances.
Putting Win/Loss into Context of the Current Macro and Micro Circumstances
In order to ensure we are all on the same page, let’s define macro vs micro economics. As Investopedia explains it “Microeconomics is the study of how individuals and companies make decisions to allocate scarce resources. Macroeconomics is the study of an economy as a whole.”
Macroeconomics considers factors such as economic growth, inflation, and changes in employment rates.
At this point, if you are asking ‘So how does this knowledge influence how you will adapt going into the second half of the year?’, you are asking the right question.
Let’s start by looking at macro conditions through the context of the historical data that the Win/Loss analysis is providing as well as what macro level research can provide to help forecast future trends.
The first step is to review the verticals and industries that make up your prospect and customer list and conduct research that will help you answer the following questions:
- Which industries are disproportionately impacted by the current economic situation? Identify which industries are growing and which ones are flat or shrinking.
- What industries are experiencing increases and decreases in employment rates.
This information can help inform decisions on where your marketing, sales and customer success efforts should be concentrated.
For example: Let’s say your top three verticals are Healthcare, Travel Industry and SaaS and much of your revenue growth comes from user based licenses.
Your Win/Loss Analysis revealed that while you are winning new business in each vertical at a similar win rate, it also reveals that ACV for Healthcare and the Travel Industry are higher than SaaS. As shown in the data below, it also showed you that SaaS ACV has actually dropped because new contracts do not include as many user licenses due to layoffs in SaaS companies.
What’s more is that NRR has held steady in Healthcare and Travel, while SaaS has dropped. Most of your revenue churn is coming from SaaS companies in the form of contract cancellations and downgrades to fewer user licenses.
So now you have part of the picture, but you still need further information to help forecast trends going into H2.
This is where research on macroeconomic trends comes in. Your macro level research has provided data that shows Healthcare and Travel industries are growing and that SaaS will likely continue to experience decreases in growth, hiring freezes and layoffs.
The combination of lagging indicators through Win/Loss analysis and leading indicators of macroeconomic trends provide a more complete data set that will help you to make well informed decisions on where to focus efforts in H2.
While at this point we should have a pretty solid understanding of our circumstances and where we need to adapt, there are still some missing details before we have a complete picture.
Next, we need to review microeconomic factors that could affect the decisions we make on our H2 strategy.
Microeconomics considers the decisions made by businesses regarding resources, pricing, and approaches in how business is conducted. Factors that affect the micro economic environment in which you operate include:
- Regulatory changes that benefit or hurt certain industries.
- Changes to the competitive landscape.
- Product and service decisions made by your company.
- Pricing decisions.
These elements need to be taken into consideration when planning for your second half as it can have a direct impact on where you will have more likelihood of winning and losing.
As an example, let’s say that your organization is in the Cyber Security industry and your Win/Loss analysis has revealed that you are often losing to a competitor because of pricing and missing functionality. Now let’s say that your organization is going to be releasing features that close this functionality gap by the end of H1.
This combined information can help you decide on what deals and existing clients you focus on where you know you are competing against this competitor. It also can help you update your messaging to specific personas to ensure that your value proposition includes communication about the outcomes your product can now help to achieve with this added functionality.
This can also help you plan with your Deal Desk and sales leadership on what terms you are willing to negotiate in order to avoid losing deals over price. With this information, organizations can quickly qualify out opportunities that are not viable due to budget and pricing misalignment. Conversely, they can quickly negotiate and approve discounts in order to quickly close deals before the competitor does.
At this point you should have a pretty clear picture on the reality of your current circumstance and where you have a higher likelihood of winning in the next two quarters.
But now this begs the question on HOW.
How Will This Help You Adapt and Sell Differently
It’s time to get tactical and put a plan in place on how you can adjust your execution to help you sell differently and win more deals. Once you’ve completed your win/loss analysis and macro and micro economic research, here are 4 steps you and your leadership team can take to ensure the organization adapts going into H2:
- Your analysis is likely to reveal changes in your Ideal Customer Profile. Some industries and personas that may have been ideal last year could now lead to higher loss rates while on the other hand, your analysis may reveal an entirely new ICP that could lead to higher win rates. It is absolutely critical that your entire GTM team is aligned on this. Ensure marketing is targeting the right top-of-funnel leads, the sales reps are prioritizing the right deals and customer success teams are applying adoption and renewal resources accordingly. Identify whether your ACV has changed, and if so, what it currently is. Determine if you need to prime yourselves for negotiation and closing certain deal sizes. Adjust your process and forecast accordingly.
- Determine what your new deal duration is, because it has likely changed. Identify if you need to prepare yourself for longer sales cycles and if you need to reallocate resources to help close deals more quickly. For example, consider prioritizing Sales Engineer and Executive Sponsor resources to deals and renewals that include your newly identified ICP. Coach management & front-line teams on recalibrating opportunities close dates so there is a realistic forecast of the pipeline.
- Update your persona profiles and train sales and customer success reps on how to engage and create effective messaging for any new personas that you are now targeting. For example, If you are now selling to the CFO, you need to ensure your team is equipped with the skill and knowledge to engage this persona. You also need to train your team to conduct further discovery on this persona and build strong business cases. Gone are the days that business decision makers who were allocated budget are the ultimate approvers of a contract. In are the days of the economic buyer ultimately making the call as to whether the budget allocation stays as is or is reallocated to another area of the business.
- Have sales and customer success managers prioritize conducting call reviews and coaching reps on their engagement and approach based on the new reality. Support the front line through coaching and training to ensure the required changes are being carried out from the senior leader level all the way through to the front line teams. Use tools like Gong to identify exactly where reps need coaching the most, whether it’s discovery, demos, objection handling, or running EBRs. Get faster results by tailoring coaching to the specific needs of individual reps.
While there is no denying that this requires a bit of work, as a leader it is time to rally the troops and start conducting this analysis now. While the H1 ship hasn’t docked yet, it’s coming into port quickly and I’d recommend that you start preparing for a rocky finish to H1. Start pulling the data and doing the research. Have leaders in their respective departments start analyzing the data now. At the close of H1 update as needed.
If you do this you will have the ability to make decisions quickly. And by quickly I mean within the first few days of H2. There is no time to waste.
Work with functional leaders to adjust execution efforts for Q3 and Q4. Remember this is All Hands on Deck.
When you are ready to execute, identify where you can have some quick wins so you can start gaining momentum and put the wind in your sails early in H2. Simultaneously, allocate additional resources to areas where you need to adapt but will require a bit more time. If you need to, hire outside help for temporary extra firepower to help execute on bringing the required changes to fruition.
At the risk of being an alarmist, having a successful second half of the year will depend on adaptation for most companies. If you don’t adapt, the question won’t be whether you will stay afloat or whether you will sink. The real question will be how fast or slow you will sink, and given the current economic situation, odds are it will be a faster time getting to the bottom than most would like to admit.
On the other hand, if you use historical data and research to your advantage, and act quickly to make the changes needed in order to adapt, you could salvage H2. There’s still time to make the best of the second half of the year and come out as a winner.