Insights Into Effective Marketing ... The Debrief
Why is it we find it so hard to ask why we won or lost a project pursuit, when we can gain such valuable information about how prospects perceive our competitors and us? Are all prospects willing to debrief? Probably not, but those who are share valuable insight.
Who should conduct the debrief? Typically it should be someone who is unbiased, a good listener, and not personally vested in the pursuit. Often the best person is someone from the Marketing Department who can listen objectively for comments and clues that will help in future pursuits. It is important to ask open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to answer candidly.
When you win a project, the technical team is ready to get to work and often doesn’t think about WHY your firm won the project … or they assume they know. Marketing should take the initiative to identify the real reasons, and hopefully learn more about the competition in the process. The debriefing meeting provides another client connection for Marketing (or whomever debriefs) to follow-up throughout the project regarding the client’s satisfaction level.
When you lose a project it is important to be positive in the debriefing process and to express an honest desire to learn from this experience. Often you’ll learn more about why your competition won the project, rather than why you didn’t, but that’s good intelligence for the next go around. You should ask, “What brought the winning firm to the top?” because it’s often not what you think.