Customer Interview Turn Feedback into Action

After the Customer Interview, Turn Feedback into Action

Conducting interviews with your customers can be an eye-opening experience. For instance, one of our clients shared how they used interview findings to save and greatly improve a relationship with one of their enterprise customers. In fact, customer interviews helped them turn around a few struggling accounts. These tactical wins stood out to our client as unexpected benefits from their program.

Later in the interview, our customer also described their strategic goal of becoming a “customer-driven organization.” They want to use customer insights to position themselves in the market favorably and to make sure they engage their customers with an “empathetic” approach. They defined a tactical win by saving a few accounts and they also explained their strategic goal with customers. The two go together, and in the long-term, their small wins will build up to help them reach that broader goal.

Read more

Competitive Intelligence in a company

The Compartmentalization of Competitive Intelligence in a Company

At Primary Intelligence, we have a strong value proposition and we’re good at communicating the message. To us, the true value of what we do is obvious. The list of people in a company that should benefit from our services is well defined. In other words, we’re a simple plug-in solution that solves a set of problems and provides an expected value.

All of which is true to some extent. But, the real fun is when we find out all those little nuances of use, value, and such that come into existence within each of our clients’ corporate environments and cultures. We have some very creative clients that are finding bigger and better ways to leverage their intelligence to create more value.

Intelligence often tends to be compartmentalized. By this, I mean that there is a tendency for the intelligence to be consumed by a single person or group of people for strategic planning and tactical to-dos, but other departments are often left in the dark regarding the presence of win/loss feedback.

Read more

Customers vs Prospects

Customers vs. Prospects: Aligning Customer Experience and Win Loss Analysis

I’m in product development and as such I struggle with two competing audiences: my existing customers and my prospects.

While you might think these are the same people—after all, our prospects do become our customers—they are not. They have different expectations of our company, our sales people, and (most important to me) our products.

It’s not that they are misrepresenting themselves or that we do a poor job of transitioning them, it’s that what they assume they need before purchasing and what they actually do use after purchasing are often very different beasts.

Read more

How to create superior buying experiences

3 Ways Successful Companies Use Win Loss Analysis

Successful companies share a couple of common traits: they are always looking for new ways to improve. They continually ask the questions that lead them to these improvements. Questions like:

“Is there a better way to defend against new competitive pressures in the marketplace?”

“How can we achieve stronger market share?”

“Why are we failing to get the customers we should?”

These are three of the most frequently-heard questions we get at Primary Intelligence, and our research shows the answer is seldom limited to just one causal factor.

What have we found? Read more

Win Loss Analysis Definition

What is Win Loss Analysis?

At the most basic level, win loss analysis helps sales, marketing, and product leaders understand the reasons for their organizational wins and losses so that they can increase their win rates and capture more business in the future.

Win loss programs are important at all levels of the organization because it helps explain why buyers choose specific solutions and why they do not choose others.

At a higher level, win loss programs help transform organizations as they make fundamental changes to what are often systemic problems. When managers see patterns in buyer feedback that consistently show outstanding—or sub-par—performance, they can replicate best practices throughout their organizations and avoid root cause behaviors that hinder long-term success. In this way, win loss analysis is sometimes compared to Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.

Read more

Sales Reps Quotas Fourth Quarter

5 Ways to Survive the Frenetic Fourth Quarter

A constant reality for salespeople is quota pressure. There are years when everything goes well and hardly a thought is given to whether numbers will be achieved.

Remember that coming off a strong year often means starting January 1st at zero with more aggressive numbers to make. For B and C Players most years are a grind to achieve quotas.

On average about half of salespeople meet or exceed quota.

I wanted to provide my thoughts about how to manage your numbers:

Read more

How Sales & Marketing Can Drive Growth

8 Tips for Successful Win/Loss Analysis (How Sales & Marketing Can Drive Growth)

If you want to reach beyond revenue expectations and understand buyer decisions, then consider win/loss analysis as an asset for your organization. It is an essential ingredient to success in a complex marketplace. Many sales, marketing, and product management leaders recognize win/loss analysis as an important factor in fueling revenue growth and understanding buyer appeal.

Over half (57 percent) of respondents in the 2017 Primary Intelligence State of Win Loss survey said they’re Read more

Effective Competitive Intelligence

Effective Competitive Intelligence: Why Timeliness is Key to Success

What is effective competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is effective when it:

  • Strengthens your company’s position
  • Answers how is your value proposition perceived
  • Tells you what is the competition is doing to win (or lose) sales
  • Defines which industry-wide best practices truly apply
  • Discovers new markets
  • Develops new products/services/solutions

One of the biggest obstacles Read more

Customer-centric Organization

Sales Insights: The Key to Being a “Customer-Centric” Organization

An August 23, 2017 newswire summarized the findings of a survey done by Pegasystems with 250 global financial services companies. Some of the results:

  • 79% agree financial institutions will move from product-based selling to focus more on personal relationships in the next 5 years.
  • Only 31% deploy relationship-based sales models to any degree and only 1% fully leverage them.
  • 29% are mired in product-based selling.

As with changing the direction of a battleship going full steam ahead, getting your organization to migrate to relationship and buyer outcome selling is not something that can happen overnight.

Read more

Turn No Decisions to Wins

Improve Your Win Rate By Turning a “No Decision” into a Win for Your Sales Team

When a software client grew frustrated with their dismal results from efforts to improve sales, they knew they needed to find out exactly what their buyers wanted. They were confident their clients liked the software, and that it was superior to the competition, but they couldn’t figure out why their win rate was not higher.

The client’s top executives and sales manager told us that they wanted to learn how to improve sales practices. They just didn’t understand where they succeeded and where they failed. The sales teams blamed the pricing or missing features, but none of them requested feedback from their buyers.

Once we started discussing sales opportunities with their buyers, the sales manager realized how much more relaxed buyers are when discussing the deals and how receptive they are to offering valuable feedback. The sales manager said, “You got to the real story and shared it back with us in a language that [we] can understand…that can feed into all of our decision making.”

Because of these improvements they have been able to maintain a 100 percent annual growth rate.

You, too, can have great success in closing more sales—including pre-empting a possible “no decision”— by applying the same principles this company used to your program.

Read more

What is sales intelligence

What is Sales Intelligence?

Sometimes, it is interesting to try to classify different areas of research and intelligence to see how certain specialties have originated, evolved and grown into their own species, so to speak. This study of sales intelligence can provide intelligence practitioners with the ability to see how their efforts might support or interrelate with other disciplines.
Read more

Selling to Mainstream Market

Sales Insights: Who is Calling on Whom?

Geoffrey Moore has written several books on product life cycles and when different types of companies are likely to buy.

  • Early market buyers comprise about 15% of a buying population. These companies want to be on the cutting edge of technology and can endure product pitches, determine how they can use offerings and make quick decisions. They don’t need a long list of references, reassurance nor much help from sellers. They buy quickly. If offerings fail to meet expectations, they view it as a cost of doing business and are onto the next offering.
  • 85% are mainstream market buyers comprised of the early majority, late majority and laggards. They buy only after offerings have received market acceptance. They are cautious in wanting to avoid making mistakes so that “no decision” is a common outcome of their long buying cycles. Unlike early market buyers, product pitches will fall on deaf ears. This amounts to inept sellers calling on buyers that don’t understand how offerings can be used

Read more

Analytics in Competitive Intelligence: Stated vs. Derived Importance

If your company uses market information to make decisions, you are almost certain to be familiar with the ‘Of these items, how important was or which of these would you consider to be first, second, and third most important?’ These questions result in a measurement of stated importance, or those things that are easily identified and verbalized as important.

Read more

Pricing Requests

Sales Insights: How to Respond to “Best and Final” Pricing Requests

How should sellers reply when they are not going to win a transaction but are asked for a “best and final” number? Some respond with the lowest possible price with the thought being they may be able to steal the business (unlikely) or at least make it a skinny deal for their competitors. It’s not a tactic I endorse.

I believe floating aggressive prices can come back to haunt sellers if and when the roles may be reversed in the future. It would be awkward if a seller’s customers got wind of pricing that was lower than what they paid.

My suggestion when asked for best and final pricing is to ask:

Read more

Sales Teams Understand Buyer Needs

Why B2B Sales Professionals Must Understand Buyers’ Needs

Why is understanding business needs so critical to B2B buyers?

When buyers feel confident the sales rep understands their pain points, they’re also reassured that the rep will find the best solution to address those pain points and fill a need. In fact, solving business needs is a high priority for B2B buyers. Sales professionals who understand these needs will solve fundamental business problems for their buyers and have a greater success at closing deals than their counterparts who choose not to listen at all.

However, gaining a deep understanding of these buyers requires significant effort, patience, and good listening skills. It’s a journey that can take quite some time to perfect. When you’re a sales rep and you’re selling a product or service to a business buyer, understanding the other person is critical to your career success. Among other items, you must discover:

Read more

Sales Negotiations Tips

Sales Insights: Avoid Negotiating with Buyers Unless You’re “Column A”

A common ploy buyers use toward the end of buying cycles is having someone (often a non-Key Player) request a “best and final” pricing. Smart buyers with multiple vendors in the mix will negotiate with Column C to use their price against Column B, all in an attempt to get the best possible price from Column A, their vendor of choice. Some buyers may just fabricate pricing.

Some salespeople see this as an opportunity to win the business with aggressive pricing. In my experience, vendors selling non-commodity offerings can seldom discount their way into becoming Column A.

Read more

Repeatable Sales Process

4 Components of a Repeatable Sales Process

Henry Ford is credited with creating production lines allowing cars to be built consistently regardless of the staff that assembled them. I’ve worked with consulting companies that wanted to “cookie cutter” engagements because repetition makes people more competent and efficient. It provides the added benefit of being able to identify and share best practices.

That said, many people feel sales calls are like snowflakes in that no two are identical. While calls are never identical, there are ways organizations can make them more consistent by defining parameters to provide context.

Read more

Selling to the B2B Market

3 Things You Must Know Before Selling to the B2B Market

In recent years, selling to the B2B market has presented new challenges for companies such as buyers’ growing tendency to vet vendors using online research and the interplay between the B2B and B2C buyer experience.

B2B buyers identifying and selecting their top tier of vendors for purchase evaluations—including the short list of contenders—often do so with very little or NO input from sales or company reps. Buyers also expect excellence from their vendors, based largely on their expectations from their experiences as consumers in B2C transactions.

So, what should companies selling to the B2B market know before they engage with their buyers?

Read more