Peer Survey Professionals

Customer Win/Loss Interviews

We guarantee that none of our publications will contain any respondent's or company's name.
Should any such publication be presented, we will pay the respondent or company $10,000.

What we do


Independent win/loss interviews: your most objective source of customer feedback

We interview decision makers who have made a recent competitive purchase in a high-tech market segment.

We determine the buyer's key decision criteria and how the competing vendors stacked up against the criteria. We find out how customers make their decisions and WHY the customers rated vendors as they did.

We always use executive-level interviewers to conduct interviews of your customers. Our confidential, peer-level interviews put them at ease and get them to speak openly. You get a "fly on the wall" perspective as two executives discuss the detailed reasons why the customer picked you or your competitor. Our systematic analysis of these results identifies the actions you can take to improve your competitive win-rate.

PSP Enterprises guarantees that all company and respondent answers are completely confidential and that neither the respondent’s names nor any company’s name will be published in any analysis. All answers are held in confidence.

What we do

Who we serve


Vendor Sales, Marketing, and Product Development

We help vendor clients increase win-rates. Lost deals are expensive. Our clients report sustained improvements in win-rates from 10-30% by adopting sales tactics that counter competitors’ claims, focusing marketing on their strongest suits, and closing product gaps that cause lost deals.

Mergers and Acquisitions

M&A clients work with us to determine how well prospective acquisitions compete in real-world contests. Our independent research validates vendor claims and reduces risk by determining the reasons why their customers picked them, as well as how well the vendors take care of their customers after a successful sale.

Venture Capital

We help venture capital clients better understand the competitiveness of startup companies in their target marketplaces. Our independent and objective insights guide portfolio companies to focus on the right strategies to meet growth and profitability goals, and help reduce risk in prospective investments.

Methodology


We always use executive-level interviewers to conduct interviews of your customers. Our peer-level interviewers put executives at ease and get them to talk.

We conduct both blind and non-blind interviews. Wherever possible, we recommend blind/anonymous interviews to remove potential customer bias. When we conduct blind interviews, we present ourselves as market researchers and ask respondents for their help in our work. When we conduct non-blind interviews, we introduce ourselves as working for our client and proceed with the interview.

Before contacting customers, we work with you to create custom questionnaires specifically for your products or services. Our questionnaires probe the issues you want to understand in depth, while preserving the flexibility to speak about unanticipated concerns.

We secure the respondent’s permission to record the interview for analysis purposes, and produce a verbatim transcript of that conversation with an executive summary of key comments.

Our methodology combines peer-level interviewing with patented analytics to provide insight into the reasons why deals were won and lost at the individual deal level and in aggregate.


Methodology

Verbatim Customer Comments


Verbatim Customer Comments
The most powerful statements come directly from the decision-makers themselves.

The respondent’s permission is obtained to record the interview for analysis purposes. You receive a verbatim transcript of what was said, with key customer comments identified. Verbatim comments carry weight and credibility because they are NOT written by anyone in your sales or marketing departments and then signed by the customer. Instead, these are “direct from the horse’s mouth” comments about why you or your competitor were selected. Use them to exemplify findings from quantitative analysis of interviews in aggregate--they are your strongest message for action.

PSP Builder Analytics


PSP Builder is analytic software you can use to perform analysis on customer interview data collected for you by PSP Enterprises. You can explore the detailed reasons why you have won and lost competitive contests and determine the prioritized actions needed to improve performance in the future. PSP Builder lays out its findings in a graphic format that is easy to understand and present.  It even automatically generates Microsoft PowerPoint slides that you can use in your executive briefs and sales training events.

PSP Builder runs on your PC with Microsoft Excel. It is straightforward to use, so a new analyst can begin doing meaningful investigation of transcript data within 15 minutes. PSP Builder can execute entirely on-premises and does not rely on any external portal to run or store data; sensitive transcript and analysis data stay inside the four walls of your organization.



SELECT INTERVIEWS

Why are you losing to a particular competitor? Why is your win-rate higher in one region than another? What are winning reps doing that everyone else needs to know about? PSP Builder lets you slice and dice interview data by selecting interviews according to any combination of criteria. Analysis of these selected interviews in aggregate makes it easy to visually compare customer opinion in different regions, across different product lines, and across different periods of time.

Click here to learn more about interview selection.





ANALYZE INTERVIEWS

PSP Builder generates charts which show the prioritized reasons why you win and lose deals. All charts provide statistical confidence measures which help you distinguish those issues which are statistically significant from those which are merely anecdotal.

By applying these quantified findings to your future sales pipeline, PSP Builder helps you forecast the revenue impact of changes in the competitive environment and analyze tradeoffs among the changes you make in your product or marketing. At any time, customer quotes relevant to any decision criterion are just a click away. 

Click here to learn more about interview analysis.



PRESENT FINDINGS

PSP Builder makes it easy to share your findings and recommendations. It automatically exports charts you build to PowerPoint slides using your company's template. It even generates detailed speaker notes that explain how to read the charts.

Click here to download a sample PowerPoint output deck.

Deliverables


Interview Transcripts

Full verbatim transcript with an executive summary of key issues and supporting customer quotes.

Learn More

Analysis and Recommendations

Recommended actions with the quantitative analysis and supporting customer quotes to back them up.

Learn More

Complete Data Set

Your complete tagged data set of all key customer comments, sortable by demographics, competitors, and key criteria.

Learn More

Process


Our research process is a nine-step cycle from the beginning of a new engagement to the implementation of recommended actions from research findings. We work most closely with you at the head and tail ends of this process, and independently on the rest. Some customers conclude the research with one cycle, but most repeat it on a regular basis in order to measure market response to changes they make in their strategy and tactics, to watch for changes by their competitors, and to have a continually up-to-date source of independent competitive intelligence to drive tactical and strategic planning throughout the company.

Click here to download our Getting Started Guide for new clients.​​​
Process

Samples


Our questionnaires probe the issues you want to understand in depth, while preserving the flexibility to speak about unanticipated concerns.

Read More

Verbatim transcripts identify key issues and customer comments in an executive summary, as well as a quantitative analysis of the criteria for the decision made in each interview transcript.

Read More

This is a sample Executive Presentation. It is targeted to answer the question, "What?"

Read More

Ethics


Respondent Anonymity

PSP Enterprises guarantees that respondents' answers are completely anonymous, and that neither any respondent's nor any company’s name will be published in any analysis or written report.

Client Confidentiality

PSP Enterprises guarantees that the research conducted on the behalf of our clients will be done with the strictest confidentiality. We work under the terms of your company's NDA. Our clients are never revealed to their customers at any point. All company and respondent answers are completely confidential and will never be published in any outside analysis.

Code of Conduct

PSP Enterprises strictly adheres to the Strategic and Competitive Professionals' code of ethics.

Learn More

Business Accreditation

PSP Enterprises has proudly earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. There has never been a single complaint filed against PSP Enterprises in over twenty years of BBB accreditation. Click here to view our formal accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.

Learn More

Testimonials


 PSP Enterprises is an outstanding provider of competitive intelligence... I recommend PSP Enterprises to any company that needs to uncover what customers actually think as a means to improve sales effectiveness."

John J. KeaneyBEA (Oracle)Read letter of recommendation

 It is my pleasure to recommend Richard Case to your organization... Richard is a seasoned professional who offers a unique set of valuable skills. Utilizing those skills will positively impact your business."

Barry KleinVignette Corporation (OpenText)Read letter of recommendation

 PSP Enterprises conducted an excellent win/loss project for Unisys... I recommend them to any vendor interested in what their customers really think of them and what they should do to improve their win rate."

Paul RobertsonUnisys CorporationRead letter of recommendation

Industry Segments


These are the main industry segments we have researched in the past.

Application Infrastructure / Platforms
Document Management (EDM)
RFID Middleware
Application Integration (EAI)
Hyperconverged Infrastructure
SAN and NAS
Application Lifecycle Management
Hypervisors
Sourcing
Application Server
Integrated Document Management (IDM)
Spend Analysis
Backup/Recovery
Network Security Management
Storage Management
Business Activity Monitoring
Pricing Optimization and Modeling
Supplier Relationship Management
Business Process Management
Enterprise Portal
Web Content Management
Content Management (ECM)
Professional Services
Web Globalization
Compliance Management
Procurement
Web Services
Converged Systems
Records Management

About Us


Richard Case

Principal

With over 30 years of experience, Richard H. Case is an expert in the field of high-tech market research. A former Gartner Vice President, Richard created PSP Enterprises to directly address the shortfalls in the industry. By using IT professionals and leveraging his own decades of knowledge, Richard H. Case has redefined market research in a way that leads to direct, actionable results.

Ken Schwarz

Principal

Ken manages all aspects of peer interviews and win/loss analysis for high technology clients. Ken draws from his 25 years of experience in enterprise IT sales, marketing, product development, and service delivery at HPE/SimpliVity, Pegasystems, GE Digital, and Progress Software.

Why PSP?


Peer-level Interviews

We always use executive-level interviewers to conduct interviews of your customers. Senior-level decision-makers respond to and appreciate the meaningfulness and efficiency of our peer-level interviews. A consultative, peer-to-peer style puts our respondents at ease and encourages them to talk freely about their experiences with an equal. We have honed our interviewing methodology to obtain as much valuable information as possible from respondents.

Blind, Anonymous Interviews

We conduct both blind and non-blind interviews. Wherever possible, we recommend the use of blind and anonymous interviews because they are the most objective source of customer opinion available. With respondent permission, we record the interview and you get a verbatim transcript of what was said. It’s as if you were a fly on the wall, listening to two executives discuss the detailed reasons why they picked you or your competitor.

Patented Analytic Methodology

Rigorous analysis of interviews in aggregate unambiguously identifies the statistically significant factors causing wins and losses, and highlights the most important actions you can take to improve your competitive win-rate. Our graphs and charts make it easy to understand and communicate important findings.

F.A.Q.


The short answer is always that more interviews yield more confidence in the results.

Our philosophy is that each and every interview should be conducted to the absolute highest level of quality such that each transcript is a valuable deliverable in its own right. That is why we only use experienced IT professionals as the interviewers. However, based on our experience and analysis in prior engagements, the following provides a “rule of thumb” for the number of interviews required to get to an given level of estimated statistical confidence:

8 interviews = 80% statistical confidence
10 interviews = 85% statistical confidence
12 interviews = 90% statistical confidence
15 interviews = 95% statistical confidence

Wins and losses should be counted separately. We therefore recommend 16 interviews in total (8 wins and 8 losses) to generate an 80% level of statistical confidence in the reasons found for both wins and losses. Without sufficient win interviews we cannot address your real strengths versus your competitors' weaknesses, and without sufficient loss interviews we cannot address your real weaknesses versus your competitors' strengths
Losing sales reps probably did not understand what the customer wanted. If you ask the losing sales reps why they lost, they won’t know the real reasons. If you rely on them to find out why you were beaten and implement changes based on this misinformation, you will be wasting money.
Sometimes the best compliments come from the customers where you lost and the most stinging complaints come from those where you won. You need to hear all the feedback to take action
We conduct both blind and non-blind interviews. Wherever possible, we recommend blind/anonymous interviews to ensure customer honesty.
PSP stands for “Peer Survey Professionals,” a name which highlights the fact that we use only industry experts to interview customers. The senior decision-makers we interview respond because we can engage them in a meaningful and interesting conversation.
Yes, any number of interviews can be done. Generally, only one interview is done per contest.
We can handle any number of interviews. In any number of countries. In any number of local languages
Focus groups are a great way to explore customer opinion with open questions, but they have one fatal flaw: the loudest person in the room pushes the rest of the group in one direction. This biases the results. Our one-on-one interviews obtain the same kind of hard-hitting customer statements without this bias
A Ph.D. in statistics was hired from Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International. The Ph.D. was shown the interviewing technique we use, the scoring, and so on. This Ph.D. was provided actual data which was used to craft the correct formulas to use.
Persistence. We go out of our way to convince the appropriate players to participate in our study. Whether we are approaching the research from the top down OR from the bottom up, our tenacity is critical to delivering you a report that is thorough, unbiased, and actionable.
Interviews can be done in any country you require. In any language needed. We use local Silicon Valley experienced IT professionals who are native language speakers. These interviews are done using long distance phone calls. We do it this way to insure high quality, consistent interviews. Interviews are conducted during normal business hours for the target country, in other words, we will interview late at night or early in the morning if needed. The recorded tapes are then translated into English.
The fact that Richard Case was a Gartner Vice President helps us to get to executives. Customers are used to participating in Gartner research projects. This allows us to obtain their participation in our research. We achieve a 33% hit rate for our interviews.
If you use resellers such as SIs, VARs, OEMs, the challenge is to give them an incentive to participate and to avoid giving them the impression that you are checking up on them.
We can interview customers at any point in the customer life-cycle. Our post-sales Reference Interviews uncover the problems that customers are having with your competitors' products and services.  And, our pre-sales Prospect Interviews help you understand why a prospect purchase has stalled and what you can do to restart it.

Reference Customer Interviews:

We can call your competitor’s reference customers to explore their actual experience with the competitor’s products, services and support–and uncover any problems they have had. Any problematic reference sites discovered this way can be a powerful competitive weapon. Likewise, our blind interviews can confirm that YOUR reference customers are truly good references to hand out to prospects. You will also be able to follow up to improve customer satisfaction by correcting any problems.

Prospect Interviews:

Prospect interviews find out why a potential prospect purchase has stalled, so you can understand the customer’s process and what you could do to move it forward. Our blind interview process ensures customer honesty. Our high-level interviewers use custom questionnaires created specifically for your products or services.
Here are the top 7 factors for a successful win/loss interview program.
  1. High level management commitment.
  2. Sales management buy-in.
  3. Field education and sales reps' buy-in.
  4. Memo from high level manager to field stating expectations that sales reps participate.
  5. Provide 3x the number of names as the targeted number of completed interviews.
  6. For blind interviews, CUSTOMERS MUST NOT BE TOLD WE WILL BE CALLING.
  7. Respond to our status and bugging messages. We are very, very persistent.
PSP Enterprises' win/loss research methodology implements and helps support a broader Six Sigma initiative. (Here, we refer to www.isixsigma.com for terminology definitions.)

Voice Of the Customer (VOC)

The "voice of the customer" is a process used to capture the requirements/feedback from customers in order to improve product or service quality. It is a proactive and continuously innovative process that captures the changing requirements of customers over time.
The PSP Enterprises Win/Loss interviewing methodology is the very best kind of “Voice of the Customer” input as it is done using blind interviews conducted by an executive peer interviewer. There is no better, hard-hitting, and unfiltered input than win/loss to feed your customer requirements gathering process.

Trend Analysis and a feedback loop

Trend Analysis and a feedback loop form a process of analyzing data to identify underlying longer-term trends. PSP Enterprises provides a statistically valid method of measuring changing customer opinion, over time, relative to specific changes you and the competition have made in your products, services, and marketing. If Win/Loss interviewing is conducted repeatedly over time, it forms a feedback loop to directly measure the return on investment (ROI) of any actions you have done to impact customer opinion.

Contact


  • 433 Sylvan Ave, Suite 124, Mountain View, CA 94041
  • 19 Richard Road, Lexington, MA 02421

Interview Selection


PSP Builder interview filtering makes it easy to slice and dice win-loss results for comparative analysis. Comparing results across regions, products or time can reveal patterns you might otherwise miss.

The control screen on the right lets you select all, none, or some of the transcripts according to any combination of criteria.

Each of the selection criteria (e.g., Winner, Competitor, Region, etc.) contains options derived from the interview transcripts. Use the check boxes to the left of the option values to choose interviews which match those values. Your selected interviews will appear with check marks in the window on the bottom. Numbers seen to the right of criteria options are the number of interviews which match the option in the context of the other selections--critical for guiding your search to combinations with a useful set of interviews.

The selected interviews are those which match any of the options for all criteria. So, if you select none of the options for any of the criteria, no interviews will be selected. Clicking on Select All for any criterion will toggle between all and none of the options for that criterion to be selected.

Once set up, you can save complex filter settings for later reuse.
Interview Selection

Interview Analysis


PSP Builder analyzes and organizes respondent scores and comments collected in PSP customer interviews. It will help you thoughtfully interpret what customers are saying and to build persuasive cases for change in your organization that will improve future outcomes.

Each PSP customer interview first identifies the selection criteria that respondents used to judge vendors’ solutions. Then, the interview explores the importance of each of these criteria. Finally, the respondent rates each vendor vis-à-vis these criteria. Respondents' comments about why they rated you above or below the competition help you understand how they justified these ratings. 

PSP Builder analytics combine all of these into a set of charts for interpretation and communication of findings throughout your organization. Here is a sampling of the most important ones.

The following example charts are for a fictional company called Active Consulting.  The transcripts are based on real interviews conducted by PSP in the past, used with client permission. Vendor names have been changed to protect confidentiality.


WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS

The Weaknesses and Strengths chart shows your strengths in wins and weaknesses in losses. The left and right sides of the Weaknesses and Strengths chart shows you the reasons you lost and won deals in rank order of their impact on lost and won outcomes respectively. Impact is measured as a % contribution to the outcome shown, or a revenue amount. To compute revenue impact, you need only enter your forecast revenue assumptions and win-rate.

The width of a bar is a probabilistic measure of its impact on the outcomes in aggregate. The impact of any given criterion represents how much it contributed to the won or lost decisions in the chart. Impact is based on:

  • The importance of the criteria.
  • The gaps between your scores and those of your competitors.
  • The number of customers who cited those criteria.

As you scan the chart from top to bottom, the criteria move closer to the center and represent less extreme prospect opinions.  The higher a selection criterion, the more that issue impacted the prospects’ decisions. 

The bar chart's fill color shows the statistical confidence for each criterion. The deeper the color, the greater the statistical significance of the impact it represents. A deep green or red color is statistically significant to the 99% level. Pale colors have less statistical significance. A bar filled with white is less than 80% statistically significant. If the number of criteria exceeds the limits set for this chart, the lowest bar combines the remaining criteria and shows their combined impact and statistical confidence.


OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

The Opportunities and Threats chart shows your strengths in losses and weaknesses in wins. It exposes the latent strengths and weaknesses that represent opportunities and threats for you.

These charts help answer the questions: "What if we were to counter the strengths of your competitors?" and "What if our competitors were to counter our strengths?" In conjunction with the Weaknesses and Strengths Chart, it provides a comprehensive SWOT analysis.

If criteria from Strengths and Weaknesses are different from those of Opportunities and Threats, it may mean that your losses are to customers whose needs are very different from those of your wins—i.e., they belong to a different market segment. Reversing these losses may require a strategic shift or investment. By contrast, if the criteria from these two charts are largely the same, it probably means that you lost for execution reasons (either product, communication, or both).


BATTLEPLAN

The BattlePlan chart combines and simplifies the Weaknesses and Strengths chart into this single chart of net weaknesses and strengths by subtracting weakness impact percentages from strength impact percentages.  The net percentages are then sorted by absolute value to rank order the criteria. The resulting chart shows, in priority order, the standout criteria you should address to increase your win rate.

Plan your offense by addressing weaknesses and maintaining your strengths. Plan your defense with the Threats and Strengths Chart: Protect wins by maintaining your strengths and addressing latent weaknesses.

Use the BattlePlan in your presentations to focus attention on the issues which are your standout strengths and weaknesses across all deal outcomes. This chart, annotated with supporting customer quotes, is a persuasive tool to effect change in an organization.


CUSTOMER COMMENT DRILL-DOWN

PSP Builder can show you the customer quotes associated with the scores that they gave you and your competitors. Use these quotes to understand the reasons behind the ratings and to exemplify the actions you recommend in your reports and presentations. Nothing is more powerful than customers speaking in their own words, especially when stated in a blind and anonymous interview. 

If you click on any bar in any chart, PSP Builder will open up adjacent windows to the right and display the customer quotes associated with that criterion.

In this example, we are drilling down into customer comments associated with the criterion "Proposed Solution" in the client's wins. Quotes in the top-right window are those expressing positive comments about the client. Quotes in the bottom-right window are those expressing negative comments about competitors. You can filter comments about competitors by any one or more competitors. This makes it easy to do competitive research.

The quotes are in green to show their connection with the wins. Had we clicked on a bar from the loss side, the quotes would be colored in pink.


WHATIFITRONTM

Conventional win/loss stops with an analysis of what happened in the past. PSP analytics forecast the revenue impact of competitive changes in the future—and help you optimize the competitive impact of your product and marketing investment.

The PSP Builder WhatifiTron is a predictive analytics tool that projects future win rate and bookings based on past results modified by adjustments you make for future conditions. You can use the WhatifiTron to estimate the economic impact of a competitive change—made by you or by competitors—in your marketplace.