Win/loss analysis is often seen as a tool for the sales teams. After all, they’re the ones at the end of the funnel either closing the deal or watching the prospect slip away.
Win/loss is an incredibly useful tool for gaining insight into the consumer mindset as they move through their journey, which means that these interviews can be equally powerful for helping marketers improve their efforts. It’s simply a matter of asking the right questions.
So what are the key questions all good marketing win/loss analyses have in common? They may vary in verbiage, but they lead to answers in three crucial areas: better understanding of the buyer’s process, identifying gaps in expectations versus reality, and strengthening the product or marketing messages.
The Buyer’s Process
Questions that speak to the customer buying process should revolve around consumer pain points and your business’ competitive landscape. This might include:
- What first led you to consider our brand?
- What problem were you trying to solve?
- Who was involved in the decision to consider it?
- What other solutions or brands were considered in your evaluation?
Your customers and even prospective customers should know the answers to these questions easily, which will give you important information (some of which you may already know), but more importantly, it will put your interviewee at ease in what may be an awkward environment for them. Once you’ve obtained basic information, ask, “What made you decide to start looking for a solution to this particular problem?”
As they search a little deeper and deduce the answer to this question, they will likely provide you insight into their underlying motives to purchase, timelines or life events they were working against, and their buyer persona.
Often, a sale won’t close because of a disconnect between what the prospect was expecting and what the company was offering. This could mean any number of things: The product didn’t meet needs or expectations, the salesperson didn’t click with them, or the prospect was dealing with other outside pressures. For marketers, expectation gaps could exist with anticipated value through messaging versus perceived value when actually interacting with the product.
Specific questions around specific marketing campaigns or assets can help align your marketing to close these gaps. For example:
- What were your thoughts about our “How to develop your own app” education series?
- What did you think about our brand before you enrolled in the series?
- What would you have liked to see done differently?
- What do you think about our brand now?
Leaving questions open-ended will get your audience talking, and the answers they give here will help you identify positive perceptions to amplify in marketing messaging and negative sentiments which need to be addressed internally.
Strengthening the Messaging
At the end of the day, it all comes down to using a win/loss analysis to craft better messages that engage your target audience with your brand and ultimately lead to more sales. Even if the reasons your customers gave for engaging with your brand are incongruous with what you intended, knowing which aspects of your marketing plan fell on deaf ears is important. (highlight to tweet)
Questions that can help you refine your messaging include:
- What initially piqued your interest in our brand?
- What messages from other brands caught your attention while you were making your purchase decision?
- What type of content can we create to better serve you?
Once you’ve established rapport, and the conversation gets going, follow your interviewee down that path. You may uncover information you didn’t think to inquire about. Be sure to take notes to serve as a reference. At the close of the interview, give them one more opportunity to speak candidly about your brand, your product, and your messaging.
Direct feedback from the customer as to what’s working and what’s not is like a treasure trove from which you can improve your brand’s communication with customers.
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