Remember to Keep Your Prospects’ Goals in Mind

Win Loss ImageAt the beginning of the year, we discussed the theme of goals. We talked about setting the bar high for yourself and your organization, and also about achieving those objectives. And while goals and aspirations are certainly very personal endeavors, it is important to note that win / loss isn’t just about you. It’s also a useful tool for understanding your customers’ goals.

Fully understanding your prospects’ needs is a quintessential step in any complex, high-dollar value sale. Anova’s research has repeatedly pinpointed a lack of effective needs analysis and / or consultative approach as one of the top reasons why our clients lose specific deals. Those two areas: understanding the prospect’s unique needs and mapping your solution to those points, is easy to talk about doing, but difficult to consistently execute.

When you are looking at an individual transcript from a win / loss interview and analyzing the performance of the sales team, think of a funnel, or an upside down pyramid, with three key attributes:

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  1. Educating the Prospect About Your Solution: This is the nuts and bolts of your sales pitch. Most all of your sales team should be able to clearly articulate your offering in an informative, appealing manner.
  2. Effective Needs Analysis: Did the sales team ask about the prospects’ unique needs? Do they fully understand the customer’s business problems? It isn’t always about the sales team’s ability to pitch. They need to be able to ask questions and listen.
  3. Fully Consultative Approach: The most complicated and involved step. Approaching each sale as a pseudo consulting engagement is what separates the good from the great salespeople. The latter can take their product knowledge and combine it with their understanding of the prospects’ needs in order to come up with a sales pitch that demonstrates how the solution they are selling will help address those needs.

Unsurprisingly, Anova’s data from our clients’ loss situations shows an ineffective or inconsistent execution of all three phases of this sales pyramid. But, that is also where win / loss is helping them.

Questions such as “what were the most important attributes you were looking for at the beginning of your search?”, “what did the sales team do well / not well?” and “did the sales team clearly articulate and map their value proposition to your needs?” will help uncover what the prospects goals were in finding a new solution, and how effective the sales team was at addressing those needs and helping the prospect achieve their goals.

Do you have visibility into how effective your sales team is at all three phases of the sales pyramid?