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Win-loss Wins on a Shoestring Budget | Inside the Competitor’s Mindset | Messaging 101

Pretending you’re not paying attention to competitors is dumb. 

Sorry, but it’s true. 

When leaders say all they’re focused on is themselves and not worried about the competition, it almost sounds smart.

Because there’s something to be said about spending your energy on what you can control as opposed to what you can’t. 

But once you get past that very thin veil of wisdom, you’ll find that every serious, mature organization should have a program in place to analyze the competition and make strategic decisions to win. 

So why DO some leaders still like to pay lip service to the fact they ‘aren’t worried about the competition’?

I asked consultant, author and professor of economics John Horn that very question (and much more) this week on the Competitive Enablement Show. 

You’ll get three takeaways from that interview in today’s edition of   Coffee & Compete 🤜🤛

But also…

We’ll also dive deeper into our recently released research report When the Pie Shrinks.

And check out some serious messaging magic from Emma Stratton. 

Let’s roll,


🥧 Get a bigger slice of a smaller pie 🥧

pie shrinks

74% of revenue leaders are actively using win-loss analysis within their organizations 

91% of revenue leaders say their market is getting more competitive 

100% of the revenue leaders who said their market is getting more competitive but aren’t using win-loss are falling behind

So, what gives?

The value in deeply understanding the reasons for winning and losing deals is not hard to grasp.

What can feel hard is knowing where to start. 

If you’re lucky, you can partner with a wicked win-loss provider like these folks.

But if the dollars and cents just aren’t there for an investment right now, here are three quick win-loss wins you can do on a shoestring budget. 

🕵️‍♀️ CRM data pull 

  • You have a hunch about which competitors come up most often; which are hardest to beat. 
  • Turn that hunch into facts using CRM data: look at how often specific competitors are showing up in deals and your competitive win-rates against them.
  • It won’t be perfect (CRM data can sometimes be is always messy), but it’s a measurable way to start framing the problem.

🗣 Seller convos

  • Look at which sellers have come up most often against the competitors you identified in your CRM data.
  • Look for 10 sellers to talk to, ideally of varying tenure.
  • Ask them each (individually) a set of five questions to understand why they think the competitor proves so challenging to beat — and what has worked for them in the past in won deals. 

🤝 Customer convos

  • In a perfect world you would interview prospects who evaluated your company but chose a competitor
  • But since you’re short on time and money, reach out to five recently acquired customers (ideally five who also evaluated your main competitor)
  • Pick and choose a set of 10-20 interview questions from this awesome list.

CRM data is messy. Seller intel is imperfect. And new customers can sometimes be hesitant to really tell you how they feel. 

But if you’re struggling to get the organizational buy-in you need for win-loss, collecting these data points, drawing actionable insights, and repeating the exercise quarter-over-quarter will help get the ball rolling. 

Also, I really buried the lede here.

The two stats off the top are from our newly released research report When the Pie Shrinks.

We surveyed 300+ directors, VPs, and execs to find out how they’re competing in today’s hectic economy. 

Turns out three-quarters of everyone we talked to are using win-loss analysis to compete. 

You should too. 

👨‍🏫 Three Takeaways with John Horn 👨‍🏫

competitive intelligence professor john horn

🚫 Pretending you don’t have competitors hurts the business 🚫

“If you’re thinking about the world as one without competitors you’re missing potential opportunities.”

If you’re not contemplating what your competitors are up to, it becomes impossible to effectively differentiate against them.

John says you need to invest in competitive intelligence and make your next move better than theirs.

🤖 AI is the future of compete, but for now… 🤖

“AI is fantastic because there’s no way a human could keep track of all that intel themselves. But to predict where a competitor is going to go in the future, it’s not quite there yet.”

AI isn’t (yet) sophisticated enough to replace the need for human curation of intel, and decision-making based on that intel.

Especially when it comes to dealing with uncertainty and quick pivots from the competitor.

However, every competitive enablement pro can now do their job faster thanks to AI. Use this extra space and time to make better decisions instead of expecting the machine to do it for you.

🦾 Operationalizing competitive enablement is the key to success 🦾

“We don’t get to practice business. But war games and these exercises do allow you to practice. They force you to actually have that external view and to think about it the competition.”

Start small, launch a minimum viable product, and iterate. A simple way to start small is by running war gaming and other simulation exercises.

Just the act of getting a group of colleagues together and getting them to strategize about the competition is a step in the right direction.

Don’t boil the ocean. Start small and build from there.

👭Coffee & Compete Community Corner 👬

Messaging 101: choose a clear POV, be consistent — don’t deviate.

Spend too much time trying to be all things to all people at all times and you’ll accomplish none of those goals. 

Here’s what the queen of messaging Emma Stratton has to say on the matter 👇

Emma stratton messaging

Thanks for reading this week’s edition of Coffee & Compete. As always, please reach out to me and the rest of the team with your thoughts and feedback. 

And If you know someone who isn’t already subscribed to Coffee & Compete, be a good friend and tell them about us.
win loss analysis template

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