Understanding Your Customer’s Needs (Before They Know They Need it)

Understanding Your Customer’s Needs (Before They Know They Need it)

 

As one of the oldest professions, there have been many philosophies through the years about how to sell more effectively. While it’s not a new concept to sell to a customer based on their needs (e.g., solution-selling), it is a relatively new concept to sell to a customer based on the needs they don’t yet know they have. This is better known as insight-selling.

Here are five key components sales leaders should look for in understanding their prospective customers’ NEEDS:

Necessity

Every business has a unique roadmap. It’s the way in which they carry out the core functions of their business. Before your sales team picks up the phone to cold call a prospect, it’s imperative that they understand the nature of the customer’s business and the innate needs that customer may have. When asked, only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs (The Brevet Group). Not doing your homework is one thing. The reality is the data is likely already there. Work with your company across divisions to share your collective insights into the necessities of these customer targets. It’s not likely they would ever even be on your list of prospects if you didn’t have an initial understanding of their core business needs.

Enterprising

It takes a wise guy to know a wise guy. As expert Wise Guys, we understand the need (and pressure) for business leaders to show innovation and enterprising qualities on the job. Perhaps the most important factor in selling to a customer before they know they need what you have, is understanding this need for the customer to be the discoverer.

Yes, you reached out, but it’s the wise customer who was resourceful in discovering the advantages they may bring to their organization through your product or solution. Allow your customers to show the initiative within their company. The decision is rarely left with one individual alone these days. In fact, on average, 5.4 people are involved in today’s business-to-business purchase decisions (CEB Global). By allowing your prospect to show his/ her enterprising nature, the customer, in turn, becomes the champion for your solution among the many purchase decision-makers.

Execution

Another key need for the successful champion is to clearly and simplistically outline how your solution can be effectively implemented. Sure, you know the plan, but to effectively sell it, you should put your customer in the driver’s seat and give them the “race car” experience. Allow them to feel the speed, the wind across their face, and the exhilaration when they cross the finish line. Depending on your business model, this could look as simple as a detailed case study or customer testimonial from a similar industry or it could be as hands-on as a demo or trial program. Remember: talk is cheap and seeing is believing when it comes to effective sales.

Direction

Keeping with the race car analogy, the car is on the track, but we all know this isn’t just one race. Selling to a customer involves understanding their need for direction beyond the first lap or test drive. In many cases, this could be the need for projections or ROI. Clearly defining and demonstrating how your solution or product will help their business to grow and gain trajectory over their competitors is a crucial step. It’s what ensures quality and sets the foundation for not only a more immediate sale, but also a long-term, trusting sales relationship.

Sales

Finally, the last factor you should never overlook when it comes to understanding a customer’s needs is their need to sell! How will your product or solution enable them to sell? This could be a direct sell in terms of a solution that furthers their operational structure. Or, it could be a metaphorical “sell” in which a sale is equal to their company’s definition of success or end goal. Consider how your solution or product will be used within the core functions of their business and be proactive in communicating how it will enable a win for their business.

Selling to a customer before they are even shopping for your solution or product (i.e., insight-selling) requires access to insights. Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI) offers companies and sales teams alike critical insights into their customers’ needs and experiences in order to effectively sell and build a positive sales relationship. Learn more at  www.saleswise.com.

SalesWise Sales Game

Three Signs It’s Time to Up Your Sales Game

Everyone knows you have to have “game” to close deals and solidify the sales relationship. But what should you do if your sales have slumped and solid leads are coming in at a snail’s pace? There are many reasons performance may be temporarily lacking. Here are three telltale signs it may be time to up your game:

Sign #1: You’re struggling to get updates from your sales team.

Your team works hard. Inevitably they feel inundated by the amount of data entry they need to complete while also ensuring to spend adequate time selling. In fact, sales professionals spend only 33% of their time selling (Toutapp). They spend an average of four hours per week updating Salesforce. The reality is, you’re not alone. Yet, Salesforce itself reports that 91% of CRM data is incomplete.

Therefore, do you spend time motivating, inspiring, incentivizing, or maybe even antagonizing your team into completing their CRM updates? Or, do you look at the real dilemma? Truth be told, what you really need is greater visibility. Your CRM solution is only as useful as the data it holds. If most of the data is incomplete, you need to look elsewhere. The real relationship-building is taking place outside of your CRM. Instead, it’s in your team’s inboxes. It’s their email communications, the meetings on their calendars, shared documents, and more. Transparency breeds more effective sales outcomes – time to get wise!

Sign #2: Productivity is a never-ending challenge.

A wise guy once said, “Don’t be busy, just be productive.” So, what’s keeping your team busy?

Part of it may be the CRM data entry we just talked about. Another part may be all of the other disparate systems your team is utilizing. IDC reports 61% of employees typically access four or more systems to get the information that need to do their jobs. Moreover, in their 2015 Workforce Transformation Survey, they additionally reported that employees spend an average of 7.36 hours per week trying to find information and an average of 8.15 hours per week trying to find people or experts.

Other productivity killers? When asked what gets in the way of work, employees say wasteful meetings (59%) followed by excessive emails (43%) (Workfront 2016 Survey). Perhaps it’s possible that in your best efforts to increase productivity and the flow of information – through regular status update meetings and/ or a continuous trail of CC/ forwarded emails – you may, in fact, be enabling a less productive work environment.

At SalesWise, we resolve common sales productivity issues with our proprietary Cross Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform that aggregates all of your sales relationship data into one simple view. In turn, you reduce the need for recurring sales-update meetings and decrease email workload by 30%.

Sign #3: You feel like you’re on an island.

In today’s corporations, it’s impossible to achieve effective sales without the efforts and collaboration of other interdepartmental groups (e.g., accounting, procurement, legal, etc.). According to a 2005 study by McKinsey, only 25% of senior executives surveyed described their organizations as “effective” at sharing knowledge across departmental boundaries.

Equally important to your external sales relationships are these internal relationships taking place within the walls of your organization. Truth be told, when divisions are siloed, so is your data. As long as your team feels like it’s on an island and/ or communication with these departments is cumbersome, lengthy, or worse, ineffective, your sales may suffer. In fact, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Salesforce).

At SalesWise, we believe in democratizing your data as a means of driving stronger, more effective alignment and collaboration. No matter how your team or customers change, all of your relationship data is organized and instantly accessible to those who need it most – whether on your sales team or in the marketing department.

Merriam-Webster defines “game” as “a procedure or strategy for gaining an end.” Whether in a slow season or at full capacity, your team should feel ready to take on the challenge without concern that opportunities or contacts will fall through the cracks. Learn more about SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence by visiting www.saleswise.com/get-started.

How to Ask Your Customers to “Be Mine”

How to Ask Your Customers to “Be Mine”

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and we all have love on our minds, right? Well, maybe…

While you may be hitting up the nearest florist shop or chocolatier’s quarters on your way home from work, as a sales manager, you’ll be spending the day like any other – pursuing leads with your team. What if you took this commercialized-holiday-of-love as an opportunity to ask yourselves, “How will I ask our prospects to ‘be mine’?” Following are a few tips from a few Wise (and smooth) Guys.

Be Attentive.

You can’t exactly woo a woman, or a customer for that matter, unless you are attentive to their needs. Being attentive to a prospect’s needs involves having access to information. With multiple departments – sales, finance, legal, etc. – likely communicating with your prospect, too, attention requires coordination and collaboration.

At SalesWise, we enable teams to be more attentive through our Discover console. Here, we go beyond the CRM and limitations of your per-seat licenses to access customer information. We help sales leaders and their teams to see the real-time status of accounts. We couple your Salesforce CRM data with account-based relationship activities, such as meetings, tasks, email exchanges, documents and more, to allow you to Discover the prospects with the greatest needs and/ or potential.

Now, if only there was a barometer like this for dating, right?

Show Them That You Care.

Knowing who to send your valentine to is one important step. Sharing the right message and/ or delivery channel is also equally important. It’s in these ways that you show your Valentine (or customer) that you really care.

With SalesWise’s proprietary Cross-Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform, you can gain greater visibility into the vital details of the communications that are already taking place across functions within the enterprise. In one simple view of the CARD, you can see up-to-date information to help you more effectively manage your growing sales relationship. Armed with this critical intelligence, you and your team will be able to send messages that will resonate favorably with your target customers.

And, no, a text message is not a valid Valentine’s Day gesture.

Find the Right Timing.

So you have the flowers, the chocolates, and the sentimental card, but when should you deliver the burning question…“will you ‘be mine’?” Most sales professionals have heard that it’s best to make cold calls late in the afternoon or that Thursday is the best day to prospect (The Brevet Group). But we all know every customer is different.

With SalesWise, you can filter your customer data by given time periods to ensure you and your team are not missing out on opportunistic moments. For example:

  • Meetings held last month with no follow-up
  • Accounts to close this month with no emails or meetings in the last week, etc.

Timing is everything when it comes to sealing the deal. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day pass without exploring the possibilities with SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence. Visit www.saleswise.com/get-started.

Maximize Sales: How to Develop a Winning Spirit

Maximize Sales: How to Develop a Winning Spirit

Super Bowl LI is set to take place this weekend with our Atlanta Falcons taking on the Patriots. It’s no wonder we’re in the #WINNING spirit here at SalesWise! Believe it or not, sales organizations work much like sports teams. No, you’re not running the field and tackling 200-plus-pound men. But, you are tackling other big challenges in the marketplace, among your competitors, and maybe even within the walls of your own company. A sales leader is much like a coach, guiding his team towards the win. But, how do you ensure you have the right winning spirit?

Step 1: Use #WINNING Words.

We know sales can be tough. Some days you’re up and others you’re down. One of the biggest keys to cultivating a winning spirit for your team is to continuously use winning words. Though the numbers may be low, it’s about looking ahead. The team may have lost the last three games, but to win, they must look forward and never lose faith in their ability to win. As a sales leader, you should point to the positive and/ or the progress you and your team are making. Be sure to devise a plan to keep your team moving forward.

According to Wayne Goldsmith, a sports coaching consultant, effective motivation is a lifestyle, not a one-off speech or promise of gifts or money. Sure a bonus can go a long way as a motivator, but that prize may be a ways off (e.g., end of the quarter or year). Instead, focus on the positive culture you are creating day-in and day-out to inspire optimism and self-motivation for your team. Do you have 50 yards to go, or do you only have 50 yards to go?

Step 2: Have Skin in the Game.

Let’s get real for a minute. Whether you realize it or not, you already have skin in the game. As a sales leader, your success is directly related (probably wholly dependent) on your team’s success. So instead, the real question is: does your sales team feel like you’re in the game with them? Or, just standing on the sidelines?

How do you lead while also allowing your team to feel like you are one of the team? It’s a fine balance for sure. There are some measures you can take. Ask yourself, “What am I doing to personally communicate my commitment and ambitions to my team?” Some of this may be verbal, but much may also be non-verbal. When your team stays late, do you stay late too? Every company is different; so, think about your organization and the ways in which you may show your team you’re in it with them.

Step 3: Always be #WINNING.

You’re probably thinking, “Sure, easier said than done!” But to always be winning does not mean that you’re always “scoring” great leads. Rather, it’s about taking a winner’s approach to every task. New York Times best-selling author and business coach, Suzanne Evans, said it best with her book, “The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything.”

In sales, there are no off-days… no losing moments. The attitude of each of your team members must be to always do every task to the best of their abilities. As the sales leader, you must also recognize that abilities are never equal. Be attuned to the subtle differences between “involved” team members and “committed” team members. An “involved” team member will participate in the task at hand. A “committed” team member will dedicate themselves to the task at hand and seek to perform it at a higher standard than what’s required.

Set small goals for your team. Achieving these smaller targets can provide focus and motivation in their day-to-day operations. Over time, the cumulative effect of setting and achieving these daily goals can be significant and lead to greater success. Consider the Olympics. For Olympic athletes, it’s not every four years; rather, it’s every day (W. Goldsmith).

No, you’re not seeking touchdowns and field goals in the 51st Super Bowl, but you are pursuing leads and new customers. How you get there is entirely up to you. Developing a #WINNING spirit is a must and committing to the relentless pursuit of improvement is also most valuable.

For the Atlanta Falcons, we hope that belief brings a win this Sunday. For your team, we hope that means you’ll venture to learn more about SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence by visiting www.saleswise.com/the-platform/. #RiseUp

 

SalesWise Discover Console

SalesWise is Helping Sales Teams Discover Deals And Win Opportunities

SalesWise has always gone beyond the CRM to help sales leaders understand the statuses of the most important accounts. To that end, we are releasing the latest Discover. Now, leaders and their teams can find opportunities and accounts based on activities.

SalesWise Discover Console

Discover Opportunities. Discover Activities. Win Deals.

From Day 1, every Account and Opportunity is extracted from Salesforce and synced with SalesWise. Couple your CRM data with account-based relationship activities, and you have a powerful way to find accounts needing attention and how.

From the Discover console, surface Accounts by activities in a new, powerful way. Simply filter activities by

  • Meetings
  • Tasks (Salesforce)
  • Emails
  • Documents
  • Notes (Salesforce)

Combine these filters given time periods to identify accounts requiring your absolute attention including — great to ensure deals don’t fall through the cracks.

  • Opportunities to close this quarter with no scheduled next step
  • Opportunities to close this month with no emails or meetings in the last week
  • Meetings held last month with no follow-up
  • Accounts with lost opportunities with no touchbase in the last 90 days
  • Many, many more!

Create the searches important to you!

Want to learn more?

Contact a Wise Guy today to find out how SalesWise can provide clarity and continuity into your customer relationships to drive greater productivity across the enterprise.