This article is based on Brady Tengberg’s brilliant talk at the Product Marketing Summit in Austin. As a PMA member, you can enjoy the complete recording here. For more exclusive content, head over to your membership dashboard. 

Have you ever been out for a meal and had the dish come out completely wrong – cold, missing ingredients, just a total mess? If you're anything like me, your first instinct is probably to grin and bear it. I'm not a confrontational kind of guy, so if something's wrong with my food, I’ll just think, “Well, I guess they know me better than I know myself,” and eat it. 

Not my wife Mary though. She's never been afraid to provide candid feedback. I'll never forget the time we went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewery (our favorite place for deep-dish pizza and those delicious Pizookies!) and she ordered a salad. 

That was the first red flag right there – it’s pretty optimistic to order a salad at a pizza joint and expect it to be good. Still, this one sounded great. It had baby kale, roasted Brussels sprouts, candied pecans, grapes, blueberries, and all kinds of good stuff.

However, when it arrived, it was a disaster. The Brussels sprouts were frozen in the middle, there was literally one single grape on the entire salad… You get the picture. Rather than suffer in silence like I would have, Mary politely flagged down our waitress and explained it wasn't what she'd hoped for. They brought out a new salad, but it was clear they’d just tossed on a couple extra grapes and called it a day.

At this point, I was dying inside, but Mary raised her hand again and asked for it to be made properly. Finally, the head chef himself came out, clearly embarrassed that his kitchen couldn't execute on such a simple salad. He re-made it properly, and you could see the sense of ownership he had over ensuring we had a great experience.

As a product marketer, you have that same sense of ownership over your company's go-to-market motions, right? You pour your heart into creating amazing sales assets, positioning, and content… only to often see it get botched in execution, leaving you with cold Brussels sprout experiences that miss the mark.

That's why win-loss analysis is so powerful. It gives your buyers a voice to provide open, candid feedback about their experience in the sales process – and it gives you critical data directly from the source on what's working and what's not.

The current state of win-loss analysis

While win-loss programs are common (83% of companies practice some form of win-loss analysis according to our latest State of Win-Loss Analysis Report), many teams still rely heavily on CRM data entered by sales reps after a deal is won or lost. 

Unfortunately, that data is frequently inaccurate or incomplete – 85% of the time, the reasons entered into CRM don't match what we uncover in our in-depth win-loss interviews.

Your CRM's closed-lost reason is wrong 85% of the time.

There can be plenty of valid reasons for the disconnect – reps don't have full visibility, they unconsciously introduce bias, they don't understand the full context, or sometimes they simply choose the first reason in the drop-down menu out of convenience. 

Whatever the cause, it means product marketers are often operating on bad data and making decisions based on unreliable or incomplete information – and that’s a problem.