You already know that if you’re not tracking closed lost reasons on your opportunities in Salesforce, you’ll hate yourself later. After all, how could you possibly conduct a credible win/loss analysis on lost reasons and learn from your past mistakes without having this information in your Salesforce or CRM?

Well, we’re here to tell you that simply having a field for a picklist of Closed Lost Reason options is insufficient. This information alone will paint an incomplete picture and produce Salesforce reports that don’t tell the whole story or provide actual actionable insights in your analysis. You need 2 fields for closed-lost opportunities in Salesforce.

What is each field for?

The Closed Lost Reason field is a simple picklist of various options – as determined by your company and the market it sells in – of possible reasons as to why the opportunity was lost. Some commonly encountered reasons include timing, budget, authority, competition, need, price, lack of qualification or lost sales momentum.

Having a picklist of options is great for data normalization – sales managers can choose to sort by all the records that have lost reasons of “Authority,” for instance. That data normalization is also great when exporting Salesforce.com data to a sales analytics product like InsightSquared, creating easy-to-analyze reports like this one below:

Meanwhile, the Closed Lost Detail is an editable field and asks for exactly what it says in its name – more detail. Here, you should expect your sales reps to furnish the record of this opportunity with additional details, diving deeper into why this opportunity was lost.

For example, let’s say Opportunity X was lost because of “Timing”. In the Closed Lost Detail, the responsible sales rep should talk about why now is a bad time and when they could call back in the future. Maybe the opportunity said that they had spent all their allocated budget for these types of products and services for the year already, and if you reached back out in Q2 of 2014, they will be more receptive. That type of detail can be tremendously helpful in rescuing this opportunity – simply noting that this opportunity was lost due to timing does not provide any meaningful insights into what else can be done in terms of follow-up.

If “Competition” is selected as a lost reason, the rep should detail the competitor that won and what specifically led to that result – did the competitor have a feature that the opportunity wanted? Was their pricing structure more affordable? Does the competition have better customer service or better sales reps?

Getting as many details as possible from the losing opportunity and listing those in the editable field can also make a big impact on the rest of the company. For example, if a series of “Feature” complaints were cropping up regularly, you could bring that information to your product team. This might provide clues to product flaws or where they could improve that the product team might not have thought about before.

 

The moral of the story is to not skimp on the details when discussing closed lost reasons. These additional details are great for post-mortems and win/loss analyses, or even improving on your overall product! It all starts with having 2 fields for Closed Lost Reasons in Salesforce.com.

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