While many people can relate to what’s included, either the sections or individual elements, how to actually intertwine and align the elements (or “connect the dots”) is often less clear.
Today, we’d like to share how to connect a few of the dots that will help you align your sales methodology to your buyers, for better sales results.
The Beginning of Wisdom is the Definition of Terms
Let’s start by briefly defining some elements:
- Win/Loss Analysis: A win/loss analysis is a process for differentiating why one sales effort wins and others fall short of the mark, and the intent of the analysis is to adjust go-to-market strategies and tactics.
- Customer Experience Management: Gartner sums it up pretty well in their definition: “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
- Buyer Personas: According to Tony Zambito, Buyer personas are “research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.” (He’s since added the criteria of where they buy as well as when they decide to buy.)
- Sales Messaging: Michael Cannon of the Silver Bullet Group has written that sales messaging is “the stated reasons you give prospects to buy and to buy from your firm.” I’ve also described it as saying the right thing to the right prospect in the right way at the right time.
- Social Selling: I’m not a big fan of this term (it’s a misnomer, to me), but everybody’s using it. I like Jim Brodo’s recent definition… “Using social media in the sales process to drive leads, build relationships, and accelerate revenue.”
- Selling with Insights: Richardson’s Selling with Insights® is a customized sales training program that teaches the advanced preparation techniques and dialogue skills needed to effectively present insights to generate interest, create and shape opportunities, influence thinking, add more value, differentiate your solution, and build credibility as a trusted business partner.
Connecting the Dots
Now, let’s look at how these elements can weave together to create a tight, aligned connection between your buyers and how you sell to them (aka, resolve their issues).
- Win/Loss Analysis helps you understand why buyers chose you, or didn’t. In addition to giving you great data to understand buyer needs, buying process, decision criteria, how you can better interact with them, and more, it also provides insight into the Customer Experience – or at least their experience during the buying process and perhaps – depending on when you interview them – during the implementation of your solution. This isn’t the entire experience, but it’s important to understand.
- You can use what you learn to feed and fortify your Buyer Personas. It can help you document roles and archetypes, and more importantly, the challenges they face, impacts of those challenges, and the resulting needs. As with Win/Loss Analysis, this is only a slice of building personas, but critical for this focus.
- Knowing what challenges your various buyers face (issues, impacts and needs) and all the things listed above in the definition of Buyer Persona, including the “customer experience” they want to have, can help you build appropriate sales messaging for each persona, each set of challenges, and the capabilities that address them. If your Win/Loss Analysis interviews are structured to gather feedback from various stages of the buying process, you may be able to develop messaging for various stages. If you have R&D, research, special expertise or experience, or case studies, you can develop insights to support and strengthen your messaging.
- The information available through social media sites and the internet allows you to find your clients, Buyer Personas, and others like your current ideal clients. You can set up alerts for trigger events, watch interactions for challenges you can resolve, and research specific prospects or clients through various means. Social channels like LinkedIn (don’t forget Groups), Twitter, Google+ (don’t forget Communities) Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube and blogs (yours, theirs, and blogs your target buyers follow) allow you to create awareness and credibility (content marketing), share information, connect, and forge relationships, leading to offline connections and real dialogue. Social dashboards and especially integration with your CRM can make this all more convenient than ever before.
- Last and possibly most powerful in this series of connected dots, selling with insights can empower you to sew a lot of this together. Our Insight Blueprint links your buyer’s Challenges, Opportunities, Impacts and Needs (COIN) to your Capabilities that resolve them – connected by insightful data or information. Our Insight Message model and accompanying worksheet, allows you to take these inputs and personalize them for a specific buyer’s situation. If you target this messaging to specific personas, and organize it by the stages of the buying/selling process, you can create a library of sample messaging that can be personalized for increased impact and used whenever appropriate.
Connecting Enough Dots = Sales Transformation
This is just one of many examples of how elements of the Sales Performance Ecosystem fit together. It takes planning, prioritization, and time, but piece by piece, you can align all the elements of the ecosystem to support your clients, their needs and buying process, and your sales force that serves them. But be careful… if you do that, you just might transform your sales force (and your business), in the process!