How CROs Can Increase Proposal Success Rates Through Win/Loss Studies
Win/loss studies performed by in-house CRO teams typically produce mixed results. Often, a potential customer that has turned down a bid is reluctant to express negative opinions about the CRO (or its personnel) tendering a proposal. More often, the CRO is unable to gain a comprehensive understanding of its possible shortcomings because it is not asking the right questions.
Engaging a third party to execute win/loss studies largely dissolves the social pressure resulting in such responses. Also, that third party will ask different and more in-depth questions, versus an untrained business development (BD) person. Finally, the manner in which the questions are asked can increase or decrease the chances of an honest response.
With this context in mind, the head of sales at a small CRO approached ISR to glean greater understanding as to why potential clients were declining the company’s proposals. This CRO was attempting to offer a new service and was struggling to win customers for that service. The CRO had reached out to these potential clients, asking for input on how to improve their proposals. However, the input they received from those potential clients was lacking — consisting of surface-level observations and incomplete reasonings that the CRO could not use to improve their service offerings.
The CRO needed a third-party to determine the unvarnished and nuanced truth from those lost clients, as well as to generate usable feedback that would improve their proposal win rate — a win/loss study. ISR responded by developing and executing a customized market research project, reaching out to decision-makers from former prospective clients, asking why they made their choices.
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