Once you’ve decided who will be your program manager, it’s time to start the discovery process by engaging your internal stakeholders and collecting intelligence. This initial discovery phase sets the foundation for which core product and sales components your win-loss research will focus on.
During this discovery process, refresh yourself on your organization’s core value proposition. This may mean reviewing existing marketing materials, product demos, sales processes and analyst coverage, along with gathering any relevant competitive intelligence. Most importantly, you should identify the vision for each of your internal stakeholders—including your CMO, CRO, CPO, director of competitive intelligence and head of customer success—in order to foster adoption and ensure a well-aligned program that adds value across your organization.
To attain these important program objectives, survey and hold discussions with your key stakeholders to better understand their personal program goals, learning objectives and desired outcomes. Ask questions such as:
- What are you hoping to learn through a win-loss program?
- How do you personally plan on using the program findings?
- What do you believe are the biggest barriers to the company's greater success?
- What are the primary benefits (or perceived benefits) buyers seek to gain through our offering?
- What are the top sales and product-related questions you would like answered?
- What are your high-level assumptions about our competitors?
Win-loss research coverage aligns well with some traditional research areas, including persona development and the buyer journey. As such, mapping your discovery findings within the four buying-process research areas (below) is a great starting point. Use these core components to guide conversations with internal stakeholders and your win-loss team to better understand what questions and topic areas the research should focus on.
What are the responsibilities and personal goals of your buyers? What challenges do they face? What kind of reporting structure do they work within?
🌊 Awareness stage
What internal and external business drivers are pushing your buyers to consider you?
📚 Consideration stage
What type of visions do your buyers have and what would be their primary use case? What are your buyers’ business and/or technical criteria? What resources are they using to learn more about your marketplace, and what is their standard evaluation process?
🎯 Decision stage
What are your competitors offering that you are not? What is your differentiated value proposition and how is your brand perceived? How do buyers feel about your capabilities and roadmap, and how well do those align with customer needs? How did your buyers feel about the sales process, and price and contract negotiations?
Following a program launch, and throughout the life cycle of a program, discovery continues to play an important role. As things shift in the marketplace, it is necessary to stay on top of changes that may impact your buyers’ perspectives.