Win or lose, make sure you learn

Our goal here at PipelineDeals is to provide your business with the best way to organize your business, sell more efficiently and win more business. Our Customer Operations Manager, Nic Cary, pointed out one easy way to get the most out of PipelineDeals is to set up your account to enable Won/Loss reporting. This post will walk you through how to set up Win/Loss for your own PipelineDeals account.

Why Won/Loss Reporting?

You won a deal? Great. Most companies stop there. Winning, or losing a deal should be just the start of analyzing your sales pipeline. Questions like these demand a good answer: Why did you win that deal? How long was it in your pipeline? Where did that deal originate from when it was only a lead? Who is winning deals? How long are they taking to close deals? Are they closing deals when they initially expected them to close?

All these questions can be applied to a lost deal as well. Either way you need to figure out what is working for your business, what is not and make changes to create the outcomes you want.

Setting the Foundation

Being able to answer the questions above takes just a few minutes to set up. Like with anything in business (and life for that matter) these features will only work if you back it up with people and some sort of discipline. In this case you need to customize your deal stages, custom fields and lead sources.

Deal Stages

In PipelineDeals you (or your account admin) can customize your deal stages by going to the gear menu in the upper right hand corner, clicking on “Admin”, then clicking on “Deal Stages”. Here you can add whatever deal stages make sense for your business. In order to enable Won/Loss reporting you should make sure you have both a deal stage names “Won” and “Lost”.  PipelineDeals has these two stages in there by default and you can re-name them if needed. Simple enough, right?

Custom Fields

Using the same method as mentioned above to access deal stages, you can add custom fields. Here we recommend you add the following custom fields as a pick list: “Reason Won” and “Reason Lost”. These reasons are completely at your discretion. Reasons won could include “Value”, “Warranty”, “Lowest Price”, “Good References”, etc. Reasons lost could include “Too Expensive”, “Timing”, “Went In house”, “Decided not to purchase right now”. Again, pretty straightforward and you can add other reasons over time as you generate more ideas and want more detailed insight into why things are happening.

Lead Sources

Setting up and customizing lead sources is done in the same manner as deal stages and custom fields. Here you can add lead sources like “Website”, “Referral”, “Cold Call”, “NYC Trade Show 2010”, etc.

These custom values will give you the the foundation you need to generate some pretty intelligent reporting.

Won/Loss Reports

PipelineDeals will now be set up to provide you with Won/Loss reports that tell you why you are winning, so you can do more of what is working and less of what isn’t.

Both of the reports below are accessed by clicking the Reports tab and then clicking on the “Filter” link on the right hand side above column headers.

Won Report

Below is a screen shot of a Won report. From this report you can answer many of the questions we mentioned at the outset. Specifically, the reason each individual deal was won, the source of the deal, the date the deal was created, the initial expected close date and the actual close date. One example is by looking at the create date and the close date columns you can see how long deals are taking to get through your pipeline. All of this data is both sortable (by clicking on the column headers, once for ascending, another time for descending) and exportable (by clicking the export link) for further analysis.

 Keep track of the deals that you're winning in the PipelineDeals CRM

Loss Report

Below is a screenshot of a Loss report. Like its more positive compatriot, the won report mentioned above, you can learn a lot from the loss report. Arguably there may be more to be gleaned from the lost deals as opposed to the won deals. Many of the columns are the same but the reasons will be different and you can also look for trends on sources of lost deals, create dates, time in pipeline and, yes, even deal owner. Keeping track and reviewing the data surrounding your losses will give you opportunities to coach your team and improve your win rate.

 Manage and learn from your losses in your CRM. 

Either way, make sure you learn something

Win or lose the most important thing is that you and your sales team improve. By asking these questions and finding the answers after a deal closes as won or lost you will be on your way to improving your sales. That is why we are all here now, isn’t it?