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Why Is Understanding Individual Impacts So Important for Sales?

Why Is Understanding Individual Impacts So Important for Sales? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitude

Why Is Understanding Individual Impacts So Important for Sales? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeI still see so many salespeople struggling to truly understand how their customers’ challenges, needs and objectives impact individuals throughout the organization. Your customers and prospects are actual people with both personal and professional needs and goals. They are not buildings or firms. They may not have a product or service, or the right one, to help them attain required results. But how exactly does this affect them? And, is that individual impact meaningful up and down the organization?

Are All Individual Impacts the Same?

Right now, you may be thinking that you are the reason why people buy from you. Is it your unique relationship? Your distinctive ability to get things done for them? Your steadfast focus on ensuring they achieve the business outcomes you promised? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then you probably also know that your customers and prospects are people. Just like you.

It is impossible to say that a company has the same issues or problems as another company. Each is comprised of different people with their own good and bad experiences, educations and backgrounds. Perhaps you assume that multiple people are impacted the same way. It’s true that the more generic the impact, the more people are similarly impacted. But, what is wrong with that picture?

Organizational vs. Individual Impacts

If one person needs to provide data to management faster, for example, then this only impacts that one person. Compare this to the need to reduce operating expenses, which would have a greater impact to the organization overall. Knowing this information could be a big differentiator for you since you’ll have a clearer view of how a challenge or need affects the organization as well as the individual impacts – and how you can ultimately help them.

Getting Specific Drives Strategic Selling

A specific challenge or objective affecting an organization is much more conducive to strategic selling. This is where you want to spend your time, rather than on one that only affects a handful of people. In addition, learning about a generic challenge or objective, rather than a specific one, should be a clear sign that you don’t really know what that person needs, why they need it, or how it truly impacts their daily life.

If I hear that a person need a report sooner, then that is clearly an individual impact. But if I hear that he needs a timely report that will drive decisions leading to improved efficiency by X% in Y timeframe, then and only then can I realize that this impact is truly meaningful to many. And, it means that individual impacts will vary since each person has different roles and responsibilities, and will experience pain points on a more personal level.

So, if you lump everyone together and assume that people are impacted the same way, then you are not treating them as individuals with their own backgrounds, education, successes/failures, time pressures, etc. People may buy because of you, most likely because you care about ensuring their success.

But be mindful that each individual can provide different insights into how they are impacted by inefficiency or gaps in a process, for example. The more specific you can get in understanding individual impacts and how they link to business outcomes and top priorities of executive management, the more you can truly and effectively sell to people. Not firms or buildings. Thoughts?


Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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