Understanding the market you sell to is critical. In this video, learn step-by-step how to segment your market in a way that creates greater focus on the customers most likely to need your solution.
- Recently, I saw a tale of two lemonade stands. The first youngster set up a great looking table, with a beautifully crafted sign right next to a very busy bike path. The second young entrepreneur set her lemonade stand up right next to the sidewalk in her neighborhood, just adjacent to the community pool. Now, the bike path had way more potential customers traveling passed the first young man's stand, yet he sold next to nothing. Meanwhile, the young girl next to the neighborhood pool continued to see lemonade faster than she could pour it.
Why was this? Well, whether they understood it or not, and I'm guessing they did not, it comes down to knowing who your customers are, where those customers are, and what it is that they need. On the surface, the customer zipping along the bike path looks similar to the neighborhood customers. Avid, outdoor-minded people, out in the hot sun. But when you break it down, the differences are quite large. First off, people on the bike path are moving quickly, focused on exercise and already have their water bottles loaded and ready for refreshment.
In addition, people in the midst of strenuous exercise, don't typically want sugary, sweet drinks. Now, juxtapose that with the poolside neighborhood marketplace, if you will. People casually walking by, hot from the overhead sun. Usually, with several influencers in tow, clamoring for something to quench their thirst, the perfect customer. In complex sales, it's imperative to understand the same principles that this lemonade stand just taught us.
Who are your ideal customers? Where are your ideal customers? What do they need? In addition, you must also understand who is or can be involved to create a value-driven, quality buying decision. Many B2B sales people simply accept that the cast of buying characters, the customer has presented to them, is sufficient to get to yes, only to find out half way through the process that there are several different influencers, stakeholders, and even decision makers, who needed to be a part of the process but were not.
Great B2B sales people understand how to evaluate the entire buying journey, and assemble and involve the right team of buyers from the outset of the engagement. How do you identify the right buying team in a complex sale even before you understand their exact buying process? Think of it like this. You have your problem team, and you have your solution team. The people you will want to identify first are the key people that are emotionally impacted by the problem that you hope to solve.
These people will help you identify, better understand, and communicate the impact or consequences of the problem. If you treat them correctly, they will quickly become your biggest advocates for change as they are the ones most negatively impacted by the problem at hand. The second team, the solution team, are all the people who will stand to clearly benefit from the solution. Yes, some of your players will be on both teams, but the solution team can also consist of people who didn't even realize the impact the problem was having, yet they have significant influence or buying authority within the process.
The most successful B2B sales people, know how to assemble and direct the group of customer buyers who have the most information, insight, and influence on the overall decision to buy. This shortens the sales cycle by effectively reaching the right people. It creates a greater sense of urgency. It helps everyone make a value-driven, quality decision. Assembling the right buying team, also helps sales professionals overcome unexpected surprises that can actually elongate your sales cycle at best, or possibly even sink the sale all together.
Following this game plan helps create more predictability and increases the likelihood of a successful engagement.
- Simplifying the complex
- Mapping the buyer journey
- Identifying buyer objectives and challenges
- Using insights to drive urgency to buy
- Defining your compelling differentiation
- Mapping your solution to the problem
- Bridging the gap between problem and solution
- Gaining commitment