The name of the game for selling technology and Cloud services these days is insights. Insights enable substantive conversations and builds personalized experiences encouraging prospects to work with you because your advice is relevant to their business. That’s very important in a world where many prospects minimize contact with salespeople, choosing instead to follow their own digital path to investigate products, services, and solutions.
Technology companies that continue to pursue generalized features and benefits conversations about products still can have success in sales, but would benefit from a more selective use of that product information within a tailored sales dialogue that leads with connecting customer insights to the underlying use case of the technology.
If you aren’t integrating customer insights into the motions and messages your Inside Sales team uses to sell Cloud technology, you should. Chances are your competition is already doing it right now!
How Insights Impacts Sales
Historically, “insights” refers only to product knowledge itself. That traditional model has pretty much existed since the dawn of sales. The Cloud, however, has changed sales conversations from products to solutions. You sell a product, but you deliver a solution. In doing so, you show there’s an ongoing relationship between you and your customer. In that sense, you need to listen to the prospective customer, and respond to certain cues, so you can offer true business value in the solution. Therein lies the modern definition of “insights”.
Insights today focus on situational scenarios with prospects using real-time data. Insights about a given prospect or customer are important to influence how you communicate value in context of that person’s needs. Adding any value to the sales conversation requires knowing the ins and outs of your prospects’ business. You really want to understand how their business works and what the steps are to modernize their business. Where do they encounter the most bumps? Where do they see their business growing and how can they to use technology to cut costs or expand?
When you leverage insights with every prospect and customer, you can not only impact an individual sale but also begin to hone your overall sales strategy and accelerate your revenue. By identifying insights trends, where similar prospects or customers behave similarly or express similar needs, you can proactively tailor your messaging to larger groups based on patterns, and therefore apply the sales benefits of insights-driven selling to a broader scale.
When you listen closely and learn continuously about insights that align with segments of your business, then your entire sales strategy starts with engaging the customer on their terms and based on their needs and preferences. In that scenario, the sales process is both personalized and proactive, with little to no need for discovery and an accelerated path to decision.
3 Ways to Make Insight Work for You
1) If you really want to make inroads with insights, you have to have a foundation for gathering it. For many companies, that means employing Insights-driven platforms. These solutions accumulate information about a company from different areas. You could do it manually in theory, but the time involved is cost prohibitive and the results won’t be as detailed.
2) Second, you should identify all of the touchpoints a lead uses. This could include calls, emails, website, social media interactions, and online searches, to name a few. The points you miss could impact your ability to create a well-rounded view of your prospect’s business. It’s hard to understand the path your prospect has taken if you are missing multiple stops along the way, so you’ll want to capture as many as possible. Again, leveraging a tool for this makes the process easier and more efficient, and allows you to include more touchpoints.
3) Use Insights to build empathy for your prospects’ plight. If you understand someone, you can relate to their situation and the struggles they face every day. Is the business looking to cut costs, build global reach, dynamically scale? The value you offer transcends a product and revolves around a solution that is specific to their business. Your solution is the foundation for a successful relationship, which in turn makes you a trusted advisor and leads to your next sale.
The best conversation in work and life tend to be about people relating to one another and sharing their experiences. Insights-driven technologies give you the tools you need to relate to your prospects and customers. The key is gathering all the information that’s available out there and using it real-time to engage prospects. Your relationship becomes relevant in every interaction and you build credibility with solutions that provide value.
Looking for more information about Insights and their role in modern technology sales? Check out our Insight-Driven Technology eBrief.
See the full series on 6 technologies that are key components in a successful, modern Inside Sales strategy to drive technology solution sales.
Tim is Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for N3 focused on integrating digital and tele-based inside sales efforts for technology and software companies. Tim has over 20 years sales and marketing experience with high growth companies.