Start with (Identified) Pain in Mind
Budgetary cycles and budget trends have changed in the last few years.
We have been through an incredible period of global instability – COVID, the war in Ukraine, the cost of living, Liz Truss, inflation, interest rates, conflict in the Middle East…
Economic forecasters are predicting a continuation of this unstable environment, but it is not all negative. Innovation is now running at an unprecedented pace, just look at AI and the space race as examples.
JUMP TO SECTION:
- Walk in the Customer’s Shoes
- Measure Up Those Shoes Using – I, M, & C of MEDDIC
- Strategic Account Planning & Ongoing Research
- Our Customer Research Top Tips
- Our Job is to Align to Customer Outcomes
In this new environment, companies and organisations have had to adapt. They must:
- React faster.
- Be more agile.
- Take advantage of opportunity.
- Reduce unforeseen risks.
Whilst budgets can, and will be set in the regular way, companies are adapting their policies on budgetary spend and approvals. They are constantly assessing these ‘line-items’ against the current goals and risk to ensure the spend still makes sense.
This presents opportunity.
If we can demonstrate we are MORE relevant, MORE impactful and provide a BIGGER return we are in a great position. The chances are increased, like never before, that companies will buy into the 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, we mustn’t consider our needs, our solutions, our goals. We must walk in the customer’s shoes.
What is the customer trying to achieve?
Luckily for us, there are only 4 answers:
- Maximise Revenue
- Minimise Cost
- Reduce Risk
- Meet Shareholder Commitments (Linked to above)
Really understanding the customer’s business through news articles, annual reports, LinkedIn and other outlets, help us to build up a knowledge of the business and how the customer is strategising to meet their commitments.
Executives will also discuss challenges, which again give us a view into the obstacles in the way of their success. This provides potential for us to identify solutions which may overcome these issues.
Never fear Public Sector Account Managers – we have you covered too. Public Sector these days is very open about their goals and publish regular information on their charter / objectives. Failing a direct documentation of the goals and challenges, general industry news can be very applicable to these sectors.
For example, if Vodafone, BP, BAE and Tesco are talking about increased pressure on talent acquisition, inflation and cyber, you can bet your bottom dollar that this is being discussed in Public Sector too.
Measure Up Those Shoes Using – I, M, & C of MEDDIC
The usual health warning applies! Use MEDDIC / MEDDPICC!
This is about:
- Identifying the customer pain (I)
- Measuring that pain (M) and then really digging in to understand the implication to the organisation.
- Identifying who will most benefit from your solution will point you in the direction of your Champion candidate (C).
Any research you do at the beginning of a year to plan your account planning or pipeline generation strategy is so valuable to understand how applicable you are – and if you are on the right track for lead / pipeline generation.
Strategic Account Planning & 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? I am sure everyone had a beautifully written account plan in January 2020 which was completely blown the pieces by March when the lockdowns hit.
A point in time view will miss these ‘opportunities’.
Companies adapt to them – they have to.
Therefore sales, leadership and suppliers must be agile too.
So, what best practices can we implement – particularly for our strategic accounts which can help us stay current on the latest news and relevant to our customers’ needs / wants / desires?
Here are our Customer Research Top Tips:
1. Automate Your News Feeds / Create a Habit to Review
Shareholder news, mainstream news, web alerts – there are plenty of options to deliver a news feed to your inbox.
Be picky. Have reasonable expectations on 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 – to really stay abreast of what might be top of mind for your customers.
2. 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 – what is the implication?
3. 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 really align yourself to their needs.
And meet regularly!
Strategic account pursuits are not just a post-year-end activity.
Our Job is to Align to Customer Outcomes
By aligning to our customers and their desired outcomes, we can achieve more. This cannot be superficial though.
Technology valuations rely the sales team contracting GOOD business, RETAINING that business and customer advocacy helping to drive down the cost of CUSTOMER ACQUISITION.
Become your customer, advocate for their outcomes and account planning / pipeline generation becomes clearer and a joy to execute.
If you are interested in new ideas, inspir'em sales meeting exercises and lesson plans are available to continue the development of your teams.
Contact us today to boost your sales and see your revenue grow.
For more tips on applying MEDDIC in the real world, join our community at inspir'em today.