January 11, 2021

We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and stop blindly following ‘sales tips and tricks’ to engage

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Author: Matt Cameron

Whether you are part of the new business team or post-sales success and renewals, I suggest you encourage your team to take pause in these times and think hard about an old truism – If you understand your customer’s customer, then you will have an insight into what is driving the behavior of accounts in your patch.  Last year I joined Jake Dunlap of www.skaled.com in doing an earnings release tear down for retailer, ‘The Tractor Supply Company’ and the biggest opportunity for enterprise sales orgs is in supporting them as they focus on improving the retail customer experience in pandemic times.  It wasn’t about supply chain efficiency, no, it was about creating welcoming outdoor spaces, reducing time needed in-store.

The very best enterprise sales reps are experts in the industry or function that they serve and focus their efforts on creating value for their customers rather than figuring out how to get a point solution across the line. 

Case in point, I know a company that provides a platform for commercial aircraft operations management, which has a specific niche in tourism operators – For example the helicopter tour operators here in Las Vegas.  Now, I don’t know about you, but right now I don’t see too many people wanting to be stuck in a flying fishbowl for 90 minutes with a bunch of COVID ridden strangers… So, turning up with a value proposition around reducing the operational workload for them is not going to land well! BUT if you could perhaps provide HEPA grade filters that guaranteed safe flight, you are in the money. I am pretty sure Maverick Helicopter Tours has an objective of making flights feel safe in 2021.

Strategy is your key to your value proposition

Last week www.gtmhub.com, a SaaS business selling  corporate planning software (Specifically, OKRs or objectives and Key results) raised $30M in a Series B that was led by Insight Venture Partners.  Why is this important? – Well,  I recently wrote a post highlighting that strategy is most often not the cause of failure, it is the lack of execution on the strategy – Judging by the success of Gtmhub it would seem I am not alone.  Gtmhub is focused on OKRs but regardless of what system your customers use, the OKR framework is VERY instructive for helping mid market and enterprise sales people figure out whether your solution should be a priority investment for your prospects.

Check this out:

Objective is: “Establish ourselves as a credible player in the telecommunications marketspace.”

KRA#1:  Hire a product marketing specialist by end of Q1.
KRA#2: Create a telecoms specific website experience by end of Q1

Imagine for a second if you or your team were to simply ask, “What are the KRAs that you are focused on?”  HINT:  If they don’t know, then you are too far down the hierarchy to be selling a mid-market or enterprise solution.  

With the one above, your value proposition writes itself…. If I were working for Clearbit I would send a note that says something like:

“Acme will establish itself as a credible player in the telecommunications marketspace by creating a telco specific website experience, by deploying the Clearbit Reveal marketing solution.”

So, this week’s call to action is this – Your job in customer success and sales is to find out what the executive priorities are and make sure they you can demonstrate how to support them in achieving their objectives (Either with a specific KRA, or coaching them on new KRAs that will lead to a higher likelihood of objective achievement).  Start by thinking about what is happening for your customer’s customer and if you can create value hear, then the purse strings will loosen

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