Insights Led Sales – 3 Practical Best Practices

Insights led sales is a key technique not only for complex B2B sales, but for any expertise based, transformation oriented transaction.

Especially for B2B, a recent Gartner report cites that almost 70% of B2B sellers faced feelings of burnout, were overloaded with administrative burdens, and felt that management was disconnected from seller reality.

As a result, their ability to meet quotas fell dramatically while the risk of attrition rose sharply.

One of the recommendations by Gartner was to help sellers not feel like a cog in the machine, i.e. by enabling them to deliver meaningful work.

Now, most sellers we know are selling solutions to real problems. So why don’t they feel meaningfully connected?

Here are the three practical strategies on how to help you and your seller perform to their best potential. In fact, this blog will help you better implement insights led sales methodologies such as  challenger sales, consultative selling, solution selling, collaborative selling, and so on.

1. Leading With the Vision

Contrast these two stories.

Approach 1 – Knocking on the Door: In the first story, our sales person meets a client and presents the company’s various products and services areas, cites latest research, outlines a few success stories, and then asks how her services could be useful to the client.

Approach 2 – Building a Tunnel: In the second story, our sales person meets with the client and in addition to briefly telling them about the company and the success stories, she outlines a maturity model. She ventures a researched guess on where the client could be on that model (the current state) and shows them the target state. She then offers the model to the client so they can evaluate for themselves.

As you may have guessed, the second approach usually enables a seller to build superior client confidence because it presents a vision for where the client could be and generates consistent sales traction.

However, building a tunnel is not easy to pull off. It needs cohesive co-operation from the subject matter experts in the company. It also needs a practical tool set to enable it.

Consequently, sales traction and client engagement suffers. A focus on results ultimately hurts results in this case.

Solution 

The first step is to translate your solution value into a maturity model. This helps clients get a sense of where they are and easily see where you will take them. Evalinator provides a practical method to do that.

This vision should obviously be steeped in your unique expertise and solution. That’s where the insights & vision come from. Whether it’s digital transformation, change management, supply chain, IT maturity, AI adoption, etc., a maturity model that is based on your unique expertise is very useful to clients to experience your insights.

This kind of solution can also be termed as authority marketing. If you are in front line sales, get your product or practice team to help you build a simple maturity model for your clients. If you’re aa subject matter expert, then do it yourself to help other sellers scale your efforts.

This sales solution allows you to focus 100% on the client’s needs and pain areas. That’s a 180 degree turn away from being focused on capabilities and skills.

A focus on clients allows you to take charge of the conversation.

2. Set Up the Right Lead Generation Model 

A good lead generation model is largely driven by focusing on the benefits that clients can achieve by partnering with the company. That works well because clients are also often looking to see what you bring to the table that is new.

However, lead generation is also facing a familiar challenge – lack of context. When a prospect interaction is set up, or when you receive an online lead, all you have is an interaction with a demographically matched potential buyer (right title, right area, right industry, etc.).

Given that scenario, an insights led sales approach often feels sub-optimal because you don’t even know what the prospect expects. Therefore, the safe approach is to go broad with knocking on the door (exploration) and see where the conversation takes us. That elongates the sales cycle and doesn’t differentiate us very much.

Solution

interactive-content prospect engagementLead generation and leads handoff to sales should be accompanied by a context of the client. Often a level of lead engagement is needed before it can be passed on to sales.

However, due to the fear of losing the lead, the “big guns” are brought in as soon as a lead contact is received. In most cases, without proper context and research, they have to use a non-consultative selling model. As a result, their time is not used optimally.

The solution instead is to use your maturity model early. In fact establishing this process also warms up your interaction and improves the likelihood of it actually taking place. Once that has been established, you can use a more detailed version of your maturity model to further explore helping clients with their pain.

This sales best practice process not only increases sales effectiveness, but also the company’s brand.

Lead generation is often a matter of trust and credibility. This approach builds that foundation.

3. Creating Meaningful Follow-ups

Once an opportunity has been qualified, the biggest challenge for sales is meaningful follow-up and detailed qualification. On the other hand, clients must see the differentiated value that sellers bring to the table.

Otherwise, sales follow-up is arduous and not fun at all.

The typical sales offers are to conduct discovery, present services, demo product, do a prototype,  etc. These tactics are important but fail to accelerate the momentum on their own unless the client is able to pinpoint a differentiation and visualize the results. You may also be  competing with other familiar partners clients are working with. Even if you are one of the familiar partners, without differentiation, the sales cycle is tenuous.

Solution

The sales best practice is to start engaging the client on the future state vision and roadmap for the client that you have developed using the maturity model. Doing so is not complex if you can use the maturity model you have developed.

Offering advice that helps the clients progress on some short terms goals on their own shows the client that you are capable of playing the role of a trusted advisor. It also eventually demonstrates to them that they need help to realize their vision. If you are already established as an advisor, you become the natural and obvious choice for that.

Summary

These strategies of building a vision, leading with insights, contextual lead generation, and meaningful follow-ups using a shared vision with clients are not new. These sales best practices have been part of the consultative selling and value based selling models. They lift up the sellers as they experience being part of the solution to their clients’ mission.

However, there wasn’t a practical toolkit to do so. As a result, most sellers, despite being perfectly capable of building a tunnel, end up following the knocking on the door approach. Evalinator changes that.

If you would like to get started with supporting your consultative selling methodology, please sign up for a free trial. We’ll be there every step of the way to help you set it up.

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