How Do Enterprise Software Sales Teams Win Deals? (Part 3 of 4)

This is the third installment in a series of blogs discussing how sales teams win more by demonstrating value through taking a consultative approach. The first two blogs established how sales teams win more by demonstrating value. Additionally, taking a consultative approach is vital to demonstrating value. This installment discusses the first of three specific ways sales teams can strive to be more consultative. This blog was written by Yosen Wang, Analyst. 

Clearly Understanding Buyer Needs

Consultative sales teams first thoroughly understand the buyers’ specific, unique needs. When Clients won, their perceived ability to understand customer needs was nearly unanimously rated as superior to the top competitor. Understanding buyer needs is the foundation for being consultative as it is the first step to tailoring messaging about how a software solution can solve for those specific needs, thereby creating value and driving wins.

Winning teams approached sales engagements with a customer-centric approach, in which helping to solve the goals of their prospect took precedence over showing off their own solution’s capabilities, some of which may not be important to the prospect’s needs.

Qualitative feedback further supports this idea. For instance, one customer noted in a Client win interview:

The sales process was much more personalized with [client] than with the others. [client] took the time to understand our objectives and come up with what we needed to achieve and what we wanted to achieve. We felt that the other two vendors were trying to change our minds on what we needed in order to fit their product.

Similarly, another prospect cited the ground-up approach a successful sales team took:

We found that [client] has a very different approach to prospective customers. They started from a blank sheet and said, how do we help businesses solve problems in this area? They felt that if they could solve your business problems, the software would sell itself. I feel like others start with a number of seats and then try to figure out how they can get businesses to buy that number of seats.

Customer verbatims illustrate that when prospects’ needs are understood, it not only helps fuel the ability of the sales team to be consultative, but it also enhances the connection the customer feels to the sales team, helping the customer feel comfortable awarding that sales team their business.

In contrast, unsuccessful sales teams often do not take the time to ask the right questions about a prospect’s needs. If they do not ask these important questions, sales teams lose the opportunity to build rapport and connections with the prospect. They also sacrifice valuable information to be used throughout the rest of the sales process. For example, a lost software prospect commented:

[Client]’s approach was to show us everything they offered before finding out what we really needed. I think a better approach would have been to give us a short overview of their offering and then give a more focused presentation and demonstration of the important functions. I was left with the impression that [client]’s solution was all or nothing, and it did not feel like they understood our needs.

Once sales teams have a clear understanding of prospect needs, they are ready to communicate that understanding by customizing sales presentations and demonstrations to address those needs.

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