Circle is an expert in B2B wins and losses research.  We’ll give you a blueprint for successful business development activity by engaging with three audiences: Lost opportunities to dissect what went wrong, won opportunities to identify the secrets of success and the sales team to capture past learnings.

Through these engagements, we’ll reveal what goes on behind closed doors and below the buyer’s conscious awareness. We’ll:

Based on these insights we’ll then make clear recommendations on how to increase your future win rate.

Over the last decade, we’ve helped dozens of world-leading B2B brands to improve their win rate when engaging potential clients. Brands like Rackspace, JLT and Randstad. We couple this extensive experience with a deep understanding of the sales process in B2B markets and a suite of smart techniques which probe far beyond the superficial.

The result is research which makes a real difference.

Guiding principles

There are two sides to the growth coin – nurturing existing customers and winning new customers. That latter part, winning new customers, is critical. There may not be sufficient growth opportunities in the existing customer base and the ‘leaky bucket’ means that despite your best efforts, some customers will stop spending over time.

But with prospects, you often get just one chance to secure the opportunity before a competitor locks it up for the foreseeable future. This means that you need to optimise the odds of winning every new business opportunity, especially if you’re investing significant time, energy and money in a pitch or tender processes.

Based on our extensive experience and the self-funded research undertaken by our CircleLabs™ team, we’ve developed a set of guiding principles which shape (but never constrain) our approach to win-loss analysis. These principles are born from five key observations.

First, to influence the buying journey you need to fully understand it – who’s involved and the key steps taken. However, there’s not usually a single buying journey common to all, but rather the journey taken will depend on the situation and the buyer. As such, it’s essential to uncover the different ‘archetypal’ journeys and the optimum strategy for each.


Second, a lot goes on beneath the surface. In the buying process, there are elements you see, elements you don’t see and hidden or unspoken dynamics which even the buyer may be unaware of. This also applies to the criteria used to assess potential suppliers. Often what buyers say matters isn’t the whole truth. That’s not because they want to willfully mislead you. Rather it’s because people often lack a true insight into why they make the decisions that they do and tend to over-rationalised the claimed reasons for their behaviour. This means that it’s essential to probe deep into behaviours and motivations.

Three, buying decisions aren’t based entirely on what you say, but also how you say it. So as well as the content of your sales argument you need to consider your engagement style, how you communicate key points and the supporting evidence or material provided.

Fourth, to fully uncover the ‘secret sauce’ you need to understand both why you win and why you lose. This will identify key pitfalls as well as best practice so that you can develop the optimum approach.

Fifth, understanding the best approach is simply the beginning – you then need to change based on these learnings. Like any change, this can meet with internal resistance, especially if those needing to take action haven’t been involved in and had the chance to inform the development of the strategy. As such, it’s critical to consult with and listen to key internal stakeholders from the word go.

B2B wins and losses research

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A selection of our case studies

We developed the Global Mobility thought leadership programme for relocation firm Santa Fe.

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The result is content which positions them as the voice-of-authority and has led to >1,000 sales opportunities.

We mapped the customer journey for IAG Cargo and developed an ongoing monitor of customer satisfaction.

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“We are delighted with the progress we have made on our change management programme.”

We created the award-winning Perspectives thought leadership series for Vodafone.

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The result has been several million in incremental sales revenue and an ROI of >8,000%.

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