Knowing your Customer’s business
Much has been said about the need to bring insights to your customers. In today’s world of more informed buyers, it is clear that you need to do more than just communicate the capabilities of your product. However, not much has been written about how to do this well or consistently. Sellers are struggling to know where to start, and some sales and marketing organizations flounder when trying to build an ‘insight machine’ that scales. How can you ensure that your insight machine (a) delivers insights that customers appreciate and (b) guides them to your solutions?
According to Forrester Research, 64% of senior executives believe that the sales person does not know enough about their buyer’s business to bring any value to a meeting. In fact only 25% of them are prepared to take a second meeting. Think about this for a minute; three out of every four sales meetings are a waste of time and money – both for the seller and for the buyer.
The Recipe for a Great Insight – 5 Ingredients:
A customer problem scenario is composed of the following:
The insight you provide should have intrinsic value.
Good examples of insights are things like 3rd 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. Insights should really be vendor agnostic. Bear in mind that you are asking the buyer to spend their time consuming whatever you provide. Does the insight add value to their job? You should be using the insight to build credibility.
Following the 5 steps above will help you create valuable Sales Insights for your buyer that add credibility for you and help the buyer understand more about their problem so you can engage them in meaningful conversation.
Make it scale:
We’d love to see more examples of sales and marketing organizations that package insights in a manner that can be consumed easily by an individual sales person and then shared with the customer. Few organisations have put the infrastructure in place to scale such a solution consistently across a sales teams.
What we are doing here with insights is designing for a crucial component of the buyer / seller interaction; the point at which credibility grows or dies. It is not reasonable (or responsible) to ask all of your salespeople to figure this out themselves. They just don’t have the time and are not as close to the problem as your product people were when they were building the product, or where your sales enablement people or product management / marketing should be. In many cases you will end up with marketing collateral masquerading as insights; or insights that are only lightly-informed and can’t flex when faced with any level of analysis; or, at worst, insights that have not been thought through well enough and in fact lead to a capability that you cannot provide.
Winning sales teams gather all of the raw information available from product experts, from marketing and customers, to deconstruct, process and repackage it with smart software so that everyone – sales, marketing and all customer facing personnel in your company – can apply it to facilitate good business conversations with customers that lead to the right solutions.