Identified Pain is about Customer Outcomes
We live in a world where we are being constantly sold to, through many channels. Cutting through the noise to reach new customers can be a challenge.
To sell your product, someone must need it. That much is obvious.
Identifying why they need something gets you through the door and lets you start the sales process.
This need can be reclassified as a pain that your potential customer is experiencing. One of your first jobs is to identify the pain and offer a solution, YOUR solution, to remedy that pain. If you can demonstrate that you hold the antidote to their problem, customers will spend time with you allowing you to build trust needed to build a case for change.
Customer pain can take different forms; it might be an issue that directly impacts the business or an obstacle in the way of achieving a goal.
Identifying pain will always start at a corporate level:
- Revenue – is there a pain impacting their booking revenue? Does your solution solve this pain?
- Cost – is there a pain driving up the cost of doing business? Can your solution solve this pain?
- Risk – is there a new regulation they are in danger of breaching? Does your solution mitigate the pain?
- Shareholder Commitments – have they committed to something to their shareholders, which without your solution they will fail to deliver?
Whether they identify with one or more of the above, your business holds the key to solving their pain, so buying your solution represents a successful outcome for both you and your customer.
PAPERCUT OR AMPUTATION?
Now to consider, how bad is this pain?
Is the pain you have identified severe enough to warrant them allocating budget to fixing? Or is it more of an annoying papercut? If it is the latter, you won’t get far; however, if their pain is more akin to an amputated limb, you can be sure that they will be seeking a solution!
In fact, papercuts are often kicked into the long grass, with the usual customer response of ‘we will budget for this next year’.
Our job is to relate the pain back to our customer’s corporate objectives. Only by understanding how we relate to the macro-level goals in a company, can we ensure our solution will be prioritised.
WHO OWNS THE COST OF DOING NOTHING
Even though identifying pain starts at a corporate level, you will be dealing with many individuals within that organisation, who may not be laser-focused on the corporate initiatives. It is therefore imperative that you can link your solution to the pain to a successful outcome for the individual, or individuals, within the company. To do this you have to find the owner of the pain that you have identified. Perhaps consider:
- Who is accountable to solving the issue?
- Is their bonus tied to revenue or cost reduction?
- Legal compliance:
- Who is the company officer legally responsible for a risk or issue that your solution solves? Could they face criminal charges if these issues are not addressed? Or is the impact reputational?
If the company fails to comply with GDPR regulations, would they be the top executive receiving a damaging blow to their reputation in the news?
Another way to tackle this is to show the owner of the pain the cost of doing nothing. By highlighting the ongoing negative implications of the identified pain vs. the positive effects of implementing the solution you offer, you are more likely to jump the queue when it comes to budget allocation.
- If they don’t implement your solution, show the impact to their objectives.
- If they don’t implement your solution, show the impact of a legal breach
- If they don’t implement your solution their name may end up in the press for the wrong reasons.
CUSTOMER SUCCESS IS YOUR SUCCESS
So, you have identified the pain, you have found the owner of the pain who is sufficiently invested in solving it to want to buy your solution. Done deal? Far from it.
Every company that is spending money on external products and solutions, needs to see a business case to justify the spend.
This is where you can really align your success with your customer’s success; showing your customer just how much they can benefit from buying and implementing your solution.
As you put forward your business case you are clearly showing your customer how your solution will benefit them.
Yes, you will be talking about the pain, but your focus will have changed and you will be talking about it in terms of successful outcomes. The positive outcomes which we have identified are;
- positive revenues
- reduced costs
- mitigated risks
- happy shareholders
Where previous graphs would have trended down, with your help they will now trend up.
How you put forward your business case will depend on your business and the solution you are selling, but whatever it is, customer success should be front and centre.
You may hold the key to solving the pain, but customer success is the key to you closing the deal.
In conclusion, you are much more likely to close a deal if you can link the success of an individual within the company to the successful implementation of your solution.
Customer success is dependent on delivering outcomes. By focusing on their outcomes, this will deliver a greater chance of your own personal success.
If you are interested in new ideas, inspir’em sales meeting exercises and lesson plans are available to continue the development journey of your teams. Contact us today to further boost your sales and see your revenue grow.
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inspir’em was founded in 2019 delivering coaching, training & consultancy to help individuals and sales organisations grow.
inspir’em can help with: sales management training, sales and leadership training, Go To Market strategy, MEDDIC best practices, Hogan leadership assessments, sales organisational design and key hires/sales execution.
We run in-person MEDDIC sales management training programmes, and have an online sales management course for those who wish to work at their own pace.
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