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Start with (Identified) pain in mind

Start with identified pain in mind for pipeline creation

Understanding customer budgetary cycles has become increasingly difficult since 2020. The range of issues impacting corporations and governments and their spending behaviour only increases quarter by quarter. Inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, political instability, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the long-term impact of COVID-19—steadiness can be hard to find.

But while economic forecasters predict a continuation of this unstable environment, it’s not all bad news. Innovation is now running at an unprecedented pace—look at the development of electric vehicles, large language models (LLMs) in AI, and the space race, for example.

So, what can you do to adapt and succeed in the sales environment this creates? Let’s take a look.





In this new environment, companies and organisations have had to adapt. They must:

  • React faster.
  • Be nimbler.
  • Take advantage of opportunities.
  • Reduce unforeseen risks.

While budgets can and will be set at the start of the fiscal year, companies are adapting their policies on budgetary spending and approvals. They constantly assess these “line items” against current goals and risks to ensure spending makes sense.

This presents an opening for your go-to-market organisation.

You are in a great position if you demonstrate that you are more relevant and impactful and provide a bigger return. The chances are increased, like never before, that companies will buy into a better return. They are more likely to allocate cash to new projects within a budgetary cycle.


Walk in the customer’s shoes

To be in the best position, you must not consider your needs, solutions, or goals. You must put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

What is the customer trying to achieve?

Luckily for you, there are only four answers:

  1. Maximise revenue.
  2. Minimise cost.
  3. Reduce risk.
  4. Meet shareholder commitments.

Understanding the customer’s business through news articles, annual reports, LinkedIn, and other outlets can help you gain knowledge of the business and how the customer is strategising to meet its commitments.

Executives will also discuss challenges, which again give you a view into the obstacles to their success. This allows you to identify solutions that may overcome these issues.

Never fear, Public Sector Account Managers—there’s intel out there for you, too. These days, the public sector is very open about its goals and publishes regular information on its charter/objectives. In the absence of direct documentation of the goals and challenges, general industry news can apply to these sectors.

For example, suppose Vodafone, BP, BAE, and Tesco are discussing increased pressure on talent acquisition, inflation, and cyber. In that case, you can bet your bottom dollar that this is also being discussed in the Public Sector.


Measure up those shoes using the I, M, and C of MEDDIC

We’ve previously written about how to use MEDDIC and MEDDPICC in your organisation if you need a refresher.

In this instance, though, we’re talking about: 

  • Identifying the customer’s pain (I: Identified pain).
  • Measuring that pain (M: Metrics) and digging in to understand the implications for the organisation.
  • Identifying who will most benefit from your solution will lead you to your Champion candidate. (C: Champion.)

Any research you do at the beginning of a year as part of your account planning or pipeline generation strategy is valuable for understanding how applicable you are and whether you are on the right track for lead/pipeline generation.


Strategic Account Planning and ongoing research

Walking in your customer’s shoes isn’t a one-time activity. As we said right at the beginning, things change in a flash.

Remember March 2020? Everyone had a beautifully written account plan in January 2020, which was completely blown to pieces once the March lockdowns hit.

A point in time view will miss these “opportunities”.

Companies adapt to them—they must.

Therefore, sales, leadership and suppliers must be responsive, too.

So, what best practices can you implement—particularly for our strategic accounts—that can help you stay current on the latest news and relevant to your customers’ needs, wants and desires?


Here are our:

Customer research top tips

  1. Automate your news feeds/create a habit to review

Shareholder news, mainstream news, web alerts—plenty of options to deliver a news feed to your inbox.

Be picky. Have reasonable expectations of what you can read, and don’t flood yourself with feeds.

Ensure you have time in your diary to catch up on the latest news (weekly) and stay abreast of what might be at the top of your customers’ minds.

Using tools like RSS (Really Simple Syndication) readers can be an excellent way to keep yourself in the loop. Popular readers include Feedly and Inoreader on web browsers, phone apps, and Outlook on desktop (Windows version only).

Also, new AI-led platforms can help summarise information quickly to help you stay updated with relevant news.

  1. Interim reports/analyst Q&A

Don’t wait till the annual report is out. You’ll be behind the curve.

Company communications have come a long way, and the need to constantly update markets has resulted in the availability of near real-time information.

Use interim reports and analyst calls to get your “digest” on your top accounts.

Listen to the executives. What is top of mind for them? What is the subtext? What are they battling? Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “What is the implication?”

  1. Don’t hunt alone

No one should want a monopoly on ideas.

Big account team? Great. Bring everyone together and brainstorm what you have read. How is the customer challenged? How can you align yourself with their needs?

And meet regularly.

Strategic account pursuits are not just a post-year-end activity.


Align to customer outcomes

You can achieve more by aligning with your customers and their desired outcomes. However, this cannot be superficial.

Technology valuations rely on the sales team contracting good business, retaining that business and customer advocacy, helping to drive down the cost of customer acquisition

Represent your customer, advocate for their outcomes, and account planning/pipeline generation becomes clearer and a joy to do.


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