Features and benefits don’t cut it anymore – even more so if you're aiming to get the c-suite on board with your vision. And, according to TSIA, 80% of new technology spend will sit with business buyers by 2020.
Starting today, you must position the value of your solution by showing how it solves a specific business challenge(s). New to this approach? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered in this blog.
I used to prep for sales calls by glancing at the Chairman’s Letter in an annual report and looking up my meeting contact on LinkedIn. I would then show up and spout all kinds of fun facts about how my solution was “the best, the fastest, the most user friendly, the most cost effective….” This worked for me in the past but that was then, and this is now.
Today’s buyer is far more sophisticated. They already know about your product features from the internet and analyst reports. Buyers want you to have an opinion based on knowledge of their industry, market and company uniques. They expect you to present a theory on how your offering can improve their business results.
Where do you start? Adopt the mindset of your customer.
How is the customer performing financially? What are the trends and gaps? Financial performance details can be found in an annual report, on a site like Seeking Alpha or through a variety of sales tools. Be sure and look across several years. Trends typically identify a systemic problem. Maybe it’s one that where your solution can help?
How does the company compare to its competitors and the industry? Just because a company’s performance has improved in an area like revenue generation, they could still be a laggard in the industry. You should be able to discuss both their improvement and position as it strengthens your story.
What are the company goals? Understanding these goals will help you to map to the financial gaps discovered above and if done properly, quantify the projected outcome of your proposed solution. Company goals can usually be found in the Chairman’s Letter or in earnings call presentations. Working with a private company? Maybe your company subscribes to industry information. If not, check the goals of a public company in the same industry. Present those as assumptions while you gain the credibility to ask for that private company’s specific priorities.
How are executives compensated? What motivates them? Even if you aren’t calling on a C-level, they ultimately control the budget and their bonus plans typically trickle down. Take a peek at the compensation portion of an annual report and see what KPIs are in play. What if you were able to talk about the value of a 1% improvement in said KPI? There are sales tools out there that do this for you!
Assume a teaching role as you weave together your story. Help the customer identify/confirm their pain points, anticipate and respond to potential problems and aide in the implementation. Foster trust with by having stories in your back pocket where you’ve done this before.
Remember that your product is designed as a one-size-fits-all and is good enough for a wide audience. To create a tailor-made solution, start by looking at things from your customer’s point of view. Understand their challenges, treat your sale like customer service and your odds of winning go up exponentially.
Ready to learn more about this approach? Watch our webinar Selling more Effectively, A Modern Approach to Value Selling.