April 2-3, 2019

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How IBM Incorporates ‘Win/Loss’ into Continuous Customer Insight

Room 5 | 3:15-3:45 | Wednesday, April 3, 2019

When IBM’s new CMO joined in late 2016, there was an increased emphasis on customer advocacy. One of the vehicles introduced to capture client feedback was the Win-Loss program.

Pilot work began in 2016 to help “sell” the program internally, identifying key questions/attributes, determining what works/does not work, identify best practices and modifying those process elements that were not working. Activities to scale the program began in Q3 2017, such as automating eligibility and list-pull processes (e.g., size of deal, fatigue issues, prioritization rules, etc.), expanding into additional product categories (now 20 products covered), expanding into non-English-speaking markets (e.g., five languages and 17 countries included), expanding moderator team, etc.

Presentation type:

  • Case Study Presentation

Subjects covered:

  • Business-to-business research
  • Customer experience
  • Storytelling/data interpretation
  • Global/international research


  1. How to foster cross-function collaboration – Several hundred IBM executives and managers are actively engaged in reading and acting on the client insights, creating a cross-team energy that is rarely seen in such large organizations.
  2. Benefits of complementing quantitative data with qualitative narratives – Allows insights to go another step further than NPS; reimagined with more nuance, second-level detail and storytelling from Win-Loss to “beef-up” what was previously an isolated metric.
  3. Realization that wins can provide equally rich learnings as losses – Project was initially hyper-focused ONLY on losses (and how those learnings could lead to future wins). However, we have proven the value of discussing wins in detail as well. Several product offerings and positioning have been adjusted based upon win feedback.


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