Do you know your Customer? Part 1

After working multiple years on small-, medium-, and global accounts, I have witnessed allot of differentiation when it comes to understanding a customer (and customer customers). Most Salespeople focus on the information which is provided to them from their customer, without doing allot of research themselves or using market intel to outclass their competition. However, without understanding the full landscape, you will likely win less deals then your competition, simply answering a compliant RfP isn’t enough anymore!

With this article I want to elaborate 5 elements which you can research and use immediately to enhance your customer experience and radical increase your deal win-rates.

 #1 | Customer Buying Process

You need to understand your customer (buying) processes to accelerate and align your solution/offer to their internal processes as an enhancement. By simplifying the customers buying experience and process, you will simply win more deals. Sounds straight forward, right? I challenge you to describe your customers buying process, the decision tree, and what values your customer seek. To further tune this experience and process, use a Sales process that is aligned with your customers buying process. Regardless what Sales process your company uses, you’re in charge to generate Sales and your customer is king: you align your process to theirs!

#2 | Customers Industry

Customers nowadays except you to ‘fully’ understand their industry and help them to anticipate in new and disruptive ideas to outclass their competition. Yes, this will take allot of time and research but in the end will help you to engage in more meaningful conversations and spot Sales opportunities earlier then your competition. If you talk the same language of your customer, and understand their industry pain points, you can become a trusted advisor and help your customer in their journey.

#3 Trusted Advisor

Customers are not looking for Salespeople who are presenting slides of a new idea that may help them, instead, they want trusted advisors to guide them with their concerns or issues! It’s all about timing, understanding the customers position in the market, the buying process and last but not least connect your solution between your customer and their customers as an enhancement to increase value. Your customer (buyers) need to see your unique (differentiation!) value to their business. And there is a big difference between value and Capturable Customer Value (CCV)! CCV is the only value that matters as everything is being validated from a customer’s point of view and in your offer and solution, you have to ensure the value is capturable to your buyers!

#4 Customer Success Factors

Once you understand the customers industry, research what are the real success factors of your customer towards their customers. What are the market trends in their industry? How is your customer measured against the market and end customers? What are the disruptive trends emerging in their market? If you can help your customer driving more Sales and/or increasing customer experience, you will gain more trust and business!

#5 Talk and Build Relations!

Managing a customer is more then only going for business review meetings or presenting a new ideas, but to build strong relationships, gather relevant intel and become known as a trustworthy individual. It’s important that you understand the entire decision tree at your customer, coming from top management to the ‘people on the floor’. This sounds simple, but this varies deal to deal, customer to customer and once you understand it, your customer starts a reorganization. At large customers you could have multiple customers as at top-level they are devided in different business units. Gathering and understanding every aspect of your customers governance (decision tree) will gain you competitive advantage. Don’t be afraid to ask open questions what their main objectives are within a specific deal, what is it they really want? Come up with your own market research and gain trust with your counterparts. Time is money, and your counterparts count on you to make your interactions valuable to them. Change your Telco’s to Onsite Visits, as your competition is doing the same! The ‘smalltalk’ will help you see the World from your customers perspective and will gain you allot of intel which you would not get through a phone-call.

I hope these 5 elements will help you to accelerate Sales in the last quarter of the year.

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