When you have insights into a client’s financial performance – you have a competitive edge. In Part 1 of this series, we explored the benefits of selling with financial insights and how they’re an integral part of insight-led selling. Part 2 provided a case study on developing financial insights using a real company, and in Part 3, we’ll share tips on using these insights in conversation with client executives.
It’s important to note that developing financial insights is an essential part of developing deeper client insights. With financial insights alone, you’re not sufficiently prepared to engage in a business-focused conversation. You also need insights into the client’s goals, point of view, and an alignment of potential solutions to these goals.
Here are some proven tips for using financial insights:
- Make your observations part of an overall business discussion. The purpose of your conversation is not to provide a financial history lesson. “My understanding is that one of your goals is to double profits over the next five years, which is a much higher rate of growth than your company has experienced in the past. I’d like to ask you some questions regarding your initiatives for accelerating growth.”
- Focus on financial metrics that interest executives and that your solutions can influence. Be sure to develop a clear message on how your solutions improve performance. “You’ve shared that your initiatives to double profits over the next five years include increasing customer retention and improving cross-sell/up-sell. We’ve worked with other companies to help them improve in these areas. Let me share how our solutions have helped improved performance by providing greater customer insights resulting in more relevant messaging and the best channel to deliver the message.”
- Refer to your observations regarding the client’s performance over time. Adding observations about how they’re performing relative to their peers often takes the discussion to a higher level. “I noticed that your profitability has been relatively stable over the last five years, but has fallen behind your peers. This helps put your goal of improving profitability in better perspective.”
- Be prepared to provide a point of view (POV) on the client’s performance relative to their competitors. Weaving observations about a client’s trend performance into a discussion will also help build credibility. Don’t just share how the client is performing compared to peers – an executive will already know this. You should provide a POV that relays what the better performers are doing differently, and what changes are typically required to improve performance. “Our experience shows that the better performers are further down the path to digitally transforming their business, and are actively using in-store analytics, personalized offerings, checkout optimization, and same-day deliveries. How satisfied are you with your company’s progress in these areas? Which of these are you most focused on improving?” Remember, executives want you to tell them something they don’t know.
Call to action:
- In Part 2 of this series, we recommended you develop financial insights for one of your clients.
- Practice incorporating these insights into an executive conversation.
- Create an elevator pitch on how your solutions improve one or more of the financial metrics focused on most by executives.
- Develop a POV on key factors that separate companies with better financial performance from others in the industry.