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Sales effectiveness: knowledge isn't power, unless...

Client focussed win-loss reviews provide the gold-standard for insights that improved sales performance. Such “outside-in” perspectives, gleaned from client interviews conducted by skilled specialists, help sellers understand the multitude of objective and subjective factors that really determine buying decisions. The ability to tailor the sales approach in order to more precisely match anticipated buyer preferences can significantly improve sales performance, indeed, independent studies showing a marked increase in pipeline and win-rates along with many other benefits.

All sales people aspire to get inside the mind of their buyer so they can serve them better but it is usually only an independent expert who is able to explore the most sensitive aspects of the buying decision; what do clients really think and feel about a seller’s value propositions? Who is in the extended network of colleagues and consultants that will influence decision makers? How and when are critical decisions made and within what broader context? How do objective and subjective perspectives affect their supplier assessment and formal sourcing process? 

These insights can be hard to obtain without expert assistance but once uncovered they enable sales leaders to understand and predict what’s most important to clients and thus optimise their sales approach accordingly. It is this ability to create a clients’ eye view of the sales approach that enables sales leaders to safeguard and accentuate the things they do well while taking action to address improvement areas.

The challenge, and opportunity, for sales teams when progressing a potential deal is to know what needs to be changed to improve the buying experience for all clients vs those improvements that are highly context specific. For example, it may be helpful to enable all clients to self-serve information such as specification or performance metrics at an appropriate point in their buying journey whereas the use of a bespoke contract or commercial model may be very deliberately focused on certain solution types within a specific sector or geography.

The opportunity then arises to embed these improvements in an optimised CRM system, making them accessible to the wider sales community in a way that is directly related to differing client contexts. It is this combination of client insight, improved sales approach and optimised CRM that puts essential knowledge in the hands of the sales team when they need it most.

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