Working with salespeople around the world, I often see well-meaning professionals who simply lack direction. Don’t get me wrong, their intentions are good and, in many cases, they work hard. They prospect, pitch product, fulfill customer requests, create proposals and occasionally, they close business. The common thread in every case is that they do not know why they win. Having a handle on the following, will improve your odds:
- Understanding a buyer’s journey is key to selling. It is essential that the seller understand “why” our customers buy. Specifically, by role and responsibility. If you do not know why an individual has requested a meeting, demo, or a white paper, you will be clueless on where they want to go.
- Knowing the problems that you solve better that your competition – the ability to differentiate, is your job. Memorizing the company pitch is sometimes mandatory; however, if you do not know the problems that you solve particularly well, your hill will be steep. If this is not clear to you, how will your prospect come to that conclusion?
- Do you know what they want? Sounds silly but in many cases, we’re not 100% sure, especially looking back at the deals we’ve lost.
- Does the math, make sense? Is there a shared understanding of the business case?
- Is there alignment with all the key stakeholders? Do we know them and, more importantly, is it their understanding that you can solve their problems better than other alternatives?
- So what’s the plan? Do we have one? What are the steps necessary to solve their problems, accrue value, and achieve their objective?
In our world, we are in one of three places all the time – under goal, on target, or in accelerators. Regardless of where you are today, you will be more effective, make a more meaningful contribution, and have more fun in your work if you refine your direction on customer goals.