Win/Loss Analysis: Why Sales Doesn’t Want You Involved

Win/Loss Analysis: Why Sales Doesn't Want You InvovledThe most insightful information about what’s working and what’s not working, from a product marketing perspective, is found through Win/Loss Analysis. We learn about what needs to be fixed, we learn what to avoid, and we learn what to focus on to win more business. And if we win more, everyone is happier.

You can conclude that since Win/Loss Analysis is about selling, then our salespeople should be conducting this activity. Wrong. Bad idea. You won’t gain any new insights when salespeople conduct Win/Loss Analysis because the information will be filtered. Not maliciously, but nonetheless filtered. And a gentle reminder: the activity of Win/Loss Analysis is a market research activity not a selling activity.

So if insights gained from Win/Loss Analysis ultimately results in selling more stuff, why aren’t we doing more of it?


Fear that someone other than a salesperson will screw up a future deal.

Fear that information about a new product or new version will be disclosed and the buyer will question their decision.

Fear that some undesirable behavior by a salesperson will be uncovered.

Fear that a salesperson is incompetent.

And while your intentions of conducting Win/Loss Analysis are noble, fear is a powerful motivator to stop you from your pursuit. You are an outsider and your actions are treated with contempt. You have an agenda that must be stopped.

So how do we overcome fear?


Trust that the benefit to the sales team is they will sell more stuff.

Trust that you won’t screw up a future deal.

Trust that you are looking for patterns of success and failure across a range of transactions not focusing on any given transaction.

Trust that you won’t evaluate their personal performance.

Jim Semick

Jim Semick

Jim Semick is co-founder of ProductPlan, a leading provider of cloud-based roadmap software for product and marketing teams. For more than 15 years he has helped launch new products now generating hundreds of millions in revenue. He was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a vertical SaaS company. Prior to AppFolio, Jim validated and created version 1.0 product requirements for GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting (acquired by Citrix). Jim is a frequent speaker on product management and the process of discovering successful business models. He contributes at Follow Jim on Twitter at @JimSemick.

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