Why did we lose that project?  Why isn’t our new product selling?  Within the manufacturers’ rep community, these two questions perhaps are the most-often asked of us by our partners.  Now, thanks to Paradigm’s investment in The REV, we’re able to begin providing more candid, accurate and fact-based answers.

For the unfamiliar, The REV is an industry-leading sales management system developed by Paradigm USA and utilized by all our member companies. Built on Salesforce.com technology and customized through deep engagement with our sales teams, dealers, manufacturers and management experience, The REV allows Paradigm members to manage all aspects of foodservice opportunities — from idea through installation and beyond. With a consistent approach across geography, customer types, market segments and sales teams, we’ve compiled and are harvesting deep insights– including why projects are lost or won, and why certain new products gain traction quickly or fail.

The REV allows Paradigm members to manage all aspects of foodservice opportunities — from idea through installation and beyond. That includes tracking the reasons when we don’t land the opportunity.

We’re at the early stages of using The REV for such insights. Over time, we expect to provide more detailed, data-rich and granular responses for individual manufacturers, focused on specific product lines and even down to the SKU level. For now, here are the broad patterns we’re seeing as to why opportunities really are lost, and additional questions that The REV is beginning to answer for us:

  • Price. This answer is the most obvious, most common cited for lost opportunity, and the easiest to validate. A comparable product was offered at a lower price, or a competitor offered a discounted price to win the opportunity. Price often may be the real, stated or first justification for a product selection. But what if price simply provides a convenient smoke screen that hides real buyer decisions? If pricing had been comparable or equal for other options, what would have been the decision criteria?
  • Product Performance. This one is complex because performance has multiple dimensions. Was product performance not up-to-par for the required task, failing to deliver the anticipated results? Or, did performance over-shoot the application, with too much complexity or equipment horsepower for the application? Is that a unique situation affecting one buyer, or does a disturbing pattern exist across a market segment or application?
  • Support. It’s surprising to find how often an array of support issues doom opportunity. Common examples include slow responses to specifier, channel partner or buyer requests; missing equipment stock or availability status; failure to validate critical performance, operation or maintenance information; and simple lack of responsiveness. How often and at what project status does this happen most often, and what are the early warning signs?
  • Cost of Operation and Maintenance. We see this response most frequently with system and multi-unit operators. What are the critical operational criteria for a favorable decision or disqualification, and under what circumstances will these factors be the decision-making trump cards?
  • After-sale service reputation. It’s true – service matters. And that means everything from 24-hour schedules, servicer choice, parts pricing and availability, first-time fix rates and more. Are you losing sales opportunities because of online reviews, poor servicer ratings, difficult-to-find servicers?  The answer is yes.  The real questions are how often and does it occur in specific geographies?

Sharing the “short-hand” categories and follow-up questions above may be interesting for a blog.  But in the data veins within The REV, Paradigm and our members are building knowledge and creating actionable insights. Over time, as we share more information and collaborate with our partners, we will help our manufacturers better understand why they consistently win, not ask why they lost.