If you’ve read our book, Metrics to Manage Business Development Results, you know that we have substantial reservations about the value of win rate as a measure of BD operational performance. We find it especially problematic to use win rate to compare one organization’s business-winning success against another organization. Nonetheless, win rate remains the single, most-used metric that we’ve found in our research, so it appears that everybody cares about it as a metric.
Regardless of the problems associated with using win rate to measure BD performance, we support it as being very helpful if used appropriately within the organization. The secret is to take a different approach to how the data is structured and used, such that this metric is transformed from historical analysis to fact-based targeting of results. This shifts the focus of the metric from telling what happened to targeting results that the organization wants to achieve. It also brings organizations face-to-face with the question of their capability to do what needs to be done and what they can do to maximize probable success. This makes “win rate” much more meaningful in making the organization’s business-winning efforts successful.