CUSTOMERS HAVE ALWAYS wanted knowledgeable salespeople with ideas and insights to help them.
Today, with the availability of technology that helps sellers overcome any customer-insight deficits, there really is no excuse for not meeting their expectations.
A seller who adopts the buyer’s perspective in their approach to a customer meeting will engage them more effectively. That’s because they see things as the buyer does. They inhabit their world and speak to their pains, challenges and fears.
Using insights as a core part of a sales strategy forces this perspective and results in more successful sales calls.
A ‘customer insight’ is an opportunity for you to teach the customer something you want them to know, bring value, demonstrate expertise and make an emotional connection.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Start with the ‘typical’ customer problems: All customers are different, but few have truly unique problems – just problems that are not sufficiently well-understood at a detailed level. Companies of a similar size, at the same stage of maturity, in the same region, and serving the same markets tend to have similar business challenges.
2. Remember, all businesses have goals and pressures to which they must respond: This is why they undertake initiatives or projects: to relieve those pressures so that they can achieve their goals. Remember, the reason your product was built in the first place was to help fix something that was broken or to fill a gap in the market.
3. Consider the ‘buying personas’: Companies don‘t buy – people do. In a typical business-to-business scenario there will be multiple personas involved in the buying decision, each with different concerns and issues that they care about.
If, for example, you are selling a cloud-based system, the buyer’s sales boss may care about how it will help with sales productivity, while the chief information officer is more likely to be concerned about the deployment effort and data security concerns. Insights must be designed with each ‘buying persona’ in mind.
4. Make it interesting – add intrigue: While it is important to address the buyer’s stated needs and demonstrate your understanding of how they might use your product to meet those needs, it is a lot more valuable if you can create an ‘aha’ moment where the buyer says: “That’s interesting, I never thought about it that way before. I can see how we might benefit from that approach.”
5. Do not (overtly) self-promote: The insight you provide should have intrinsic value. Good examples of insights are things like third-party studies, survey results or industry analysis. Anything that is overtly self-promotional and presented as an insight does more harm than good. Datasheets, customer testimonials, or demo videos are not insights.
Donal Daly is the executive chairman of Altify, This article is an extract from Digital Sales Transformation in a Customer First World, published by Oak Tree Press.