Do you know your client’s goals, strategies and initiatives? Do you know how they relate to each key stakeholder? Are they specific, measurable and time bound, and can you link them up and down the value chain? And, better yet, have you validated with the company’s key stakeholders where they are headed and why that is important to them?
Too many times, sales people pitch away on an opportunity they know their solution can solve. They may ask some questions to gain an understanding of the client’s needs. They probably know the key decision makers at some point in the sales process, but do they continue to validate?
Do they really understand the decision maker’s goals, strategies and initiatives and how they specifically relate to those of the company? Are they satisfied with answers they get, such as “we are looking for ways to increase shareholder value” or “to minimize costs,” or “we are looking for a solution that does X”? Or do they drill deeper?
I recently began coaching an individual who was shocked when a prospective client was not interested in his solution even though he could easily prove an ROI of $2 million per year. I asked him to provide answers to some of the questions above, but most of his answers were so generic that he could have been selling anything to anyone. So I asked, “what if you had validated that one of the key decision maker’s goals was to reduce costs, and that he would not take on any risk for projects that did not yield a minimum of $5 million ROI per year?” The sales rep’s response was that if he had understood that one specific goal, then he would have either figured out how he could provide such a ROI, or decided not to pursue this opportunity at all.
So, I ask again: Is understanding the client’s goals, strategies and initiatives important?