By Carolyn Galvin, Primary Intelligence

sales tips for competitive intelligenceWhen I first began my career, there was no Internet, no cell phones, no World Wide Web. Intelligence was captured the old fashioned way—by spies and sleuthing. We were lucky to get tidbits of competitive intelligence when interviewing buyers about markets, products, and growth trends the old fashioned way—over the telephone.

Today, all of that has changed. Information about competitors is easier than ever to find, usually with just a few clicks of a mouse and strokes of a keyboard. But one source of competitive intelligence isn’t used nearly as much as it should be—Win Loss Analysis.

Win Loss Analysis Defined

Win Loss Analysis explains why buyers choose the winning vendor in competitive sales opportunities, and why they don’t choose the losing vendors. Typically, product considerations are the most important factor in buyers’ final selection decisions. However, other factors also come into play, such as sales rep performance, company reputation, service and support, and pricing.

Win Loss programs are initiated and used for a variety of reasons by internal teams in Enterprise and Small and Medium (SMB) organizations:

  • Sales Managers utilize Win Loss programs to understand what their sales teams are doing well—and what they’re doing poorly.
  • Product Managers look for feedback about product and service effectiveness.
  • Pricing Teams benefit from Win Loss programs by better understanding price relative to competitors, discounting patterns, and buyer feedback on pricing complexity.
  • Competitive Intelligence Teams utilize Win Loss initiatives to support internal stakeholders and their programs.

State of Win Loss Research Highlights Increased Competition

In our annual State of Win Loss research, Primary Intelligence asks Win Loss managers to share details about their Win Loss initiatives, including their perceptions of the incidence of competition in their markets. As Figure 1 shows, nearly 50% of Win Loss executives saw “more competitors” in 2015 compared to 2014.

Win Loss Analysis - Incidence-of-Competition
Figure 1: Incidence of Competition

Strong Desire for More Win Loss Intelligence

Because of the prevalence of greater competition, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents (62%) indicated they need more Win Loss data when asked if they have enough Win Loss intelligence to be effective in their roles (Figure 2).

Only about one in five (22%) say they have enough Win Loss information today, and no respondents believe that they don’t need access to Win Loss intelligence.

Win Loss Analysis - Data-Sentiment

Figure 2: Win Loss Data Sentiment

Strategies for Leveraging Win Loss

If you’re just getting started or considering a Win Loss program, we offer 10 winning strategies to strengthen the Win Loss initiatives within your organization:

  1. Do Your Homework when setting up a Win Loss program, including identifying and communicating program goals and desired outcomes.
  2. Formalize your Win Loss program to realize the greatest benefits, including creating a Win Loss framework, identifying individuals to champion it, scheduling a kick-off meeting, and setting appropriate expectations.
  3. Engage Sales teams early and often to ensure Sales goals and objectives are clearly understood and included within the program framework.
  4. Get Leadership Buy-in to ensure long-term program success, including the CEO and senior sales, marketing, and service/support executives.
  5. Link Win Loss efforts to hard dollar ROI to show demonstrated program success.
  6. Highlight the uniqueness of Win Loss information compared to secondary research that everyone else sees.
  7. Tailor Win Loss programs to meet your specific needs by customizing and regularly updating the questions included in the Interview Guide.
  8. Ensure your Win Loss program captures both strategic and tactical information about competitors.
  9. Capture competitive pricing intelligence from your Win Loss program by asking for percentage comparisons between different firms.
  10. Accept imperfection and know that Win Loss programs can be strategic investments over the long term.

Want to read more about the latest research from Primary Intelligence? Visit

Click the image below to download Sales Rehab’s Episode 26 with Primary Intelligence CEO, Ken Allred as he talks with CCS® President/COO Frank Visgatis about buyer needs and what companies are doing wrong in attempting to understand losses.

Sales Rehab Podcast with Frank Visgatis