Sometimes in the rush to move through the sales process and get to the close we forget to learn important facts about the customer’s organization and the direction lead by their executives.
Learning about the organization’s direction and management strategies will allow you to make a better offering and win the account.
I believe you need to uncover about nine key items relative to both direction and strategies of your potential customer’s organization. Learning these points will allow you to create a business plan or fit to the customer’s vision.
Here are the nine points to uncover from your customer…
- What is their mission or vision?
You need to know they actually have a vision. How can you sell a solution involving change if there is no vision to connect it.
- What is the real culture?
This one is more important than most realize. The culture is made up of beliefs and philosophies which are ruling how things get done. If you do not have a complete understanding of the inner workings of their culture, then how would you know what is truly important.
- What are their critical challenges?
What are the things keeping all the management up at night? What issues are they spending extra time attempting to eliminate, control or change? Knowing these issues allow for targeted solutions and answers to their issues.
- What are the industry challenges and trends?
What other matrices are they watching? Are the industry trends positive or negative regarding their impact upon your targeted account? This point is one that separates the best from the average b2b sales people.
- What are Sr. Management’s Key Goals and Priorities?
Do you know this critical piece of information? If the target account is a public company, then you can find this information online. Another source is the business press – local business journals, local business sections of the newspaper, and any published articles on the company.
- What are the key objectives for the organization?
One notch below the strategy of the organization, you will find the major objectives at the mid level of executives. These objectives are the catalyst for achieving the long range strategies. Knowing this information will assist you in matching your solutions to the business priorities.
- How do they measure Success?
What is getting measured is also getting the most attention from managers. The quickest way to learn what measures are the most important is to learn how the bonuses are administrated at the end of the year. Surprised, you shouldn’t be since as a sales person you are usually involved in bonuses at your company too.
- What are the current Strategies and Focus?
Here you are looking to find out what are the key strategies for the organization or possibly the strategic business unit you are working with on your project. Learn what they executives are focused upon and usually there are matching strategic goals to be accomplished. If you can connect the dots between your business solution and their strategic goals – again you are in a position to win.
These are mostly big picture items for you to uncover. Then you can learn and understand the relationship of their issues to your business solution fit. The more you know about your customer, the better your vision of opportunities to meet.