Want to Increase Win Rates? Focus on Understanding Buyer Needs.

Want to Increase Win Rates? Focus on Understanding Buyer Needs

When you’re in sales, the name of the game is winning more deals.

But selling in the B2B market is increasingly complex, with buyers shunning historical approaches to selling, such as the go-slow knowledge transfer from seller to buyer.

Instead, buyers now access voluminous online information independently to investigate vendor offerings, educate themselves on service and support plans, and look for customer referrals. In fact, B2B buyers typically complete most, if not all, of their research before they even reach out to vendors for a quote or product demonstration.

Given this environment, how can sales reps stand out, especially in crowded, commoditized, or low growth markets?

In our latest industry research, Primary Intelligence analyzed over 10,000 buyer interviews and found a simple answer to the quest for winning more deals: understand buyers’ business needs. Know their pain points. Help them solve their problems. Make them shine within their organizations.

Buyers who believe their needs are well understood are more likely to trust their sales teams, trust that they firmly grasp both the magnitude and nuances of their business issues. Buyers will also trust that their sales teams will devise effective and, if needed, creative strategies to address those needs.

What You Can do TODAY to Win More Deals

Based on our research of understanding buyer needs, we offer these recommendations to help you win more deals, starting today.

Listen to your buyers

Make sure sales teams are listening—really listening—when buyers describe their needs. This means:

  • Asking the right set of follow-up questions to ensure buyers’ pain points are heard.
  • Probing for specificity so that the appropriate solution(s) can be matched to buyer needs.
  • Verbally summarizing the most important points of discussion to ensure there is uniformity in understanding between buyers and reps.
  • Providing a written summary of the meeting to key players so that everyone stays “on the same page.”
  • Through careful listening and confirmation of needs, sellers will be able to match solution benefits with buyer pain points, including key benefits the solution will bring to the buyer’s organization.

Develop a strategy for dealing with large buyer teams

Because sales teams selling to large organizations with multi-functional buyer teams are rated lower in their ability to understand buyer needs compared with sellers targeting small organizations, sellers need to determine a strategy for effectively handling large buyer teams with competing sets of demands. They also need to consider how they’ll ensure “politics” doesn’t derail their proposal. This is especially important in large, complex opportunities that span different divisions, geographies, or functional areas. This means:

  • Identifying all of the individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in the deal and assigning them a buyer type, such as decision maker, financial buyer, technical buyer, human resource buyer, end user, or influencer (including consultants).
  • Working with each buyer type to understand their specific business needs and how those needs are directly impacting their roles, their teams, and their organizations.
  • Organizing and prioritizing the needs of each buyer type to ensure all voices are heard. This might include asking buyers to rank key issues in order of importance, and then comparing those rankings between buyer types.
  • Demonstrating that each issue was heard and how each will be addressed with specific solutions.

Partner with your buyers

Buyers want to know sellers will be there for them over long term, that they’ll stand with them through thick and thin. This means:

  • Making sure sales teams are portraying a “partnership” mentality through appropriate words, outreach, and gestures, including body language.
  • Taking the time to educate buyers and end users about solution functionality, industry best practices, and strategic issues.
  • Becoming a thought leader in your field, a trusted adviser to your clients.

Train Your Reps

Research published in 2013 by Executive Conversation, Inc. (now Corporate Visions) and Training Industry, Inc. shows that sales teams believe training to better understand customers’ business needs is the most important area companies should focus on when developing and delivering sales training programs, with 63 percent of survey respondents voicing support for this type of training. This means:

  • Making sure your sales professionals are adequately trained in understanding buyer needs through role play scenarios, on-site training, video tutorials, and ongoing conference calls.
  • Conducting regular check-ups to verify skills maintenance and proficiency, especially in fast-moving industries, such as technology.
  • Investing in your talent so that sales success becomes organizational success. Recent Salesforce Research found that high-performing sales teams are 2.6 times more likely than their under-performing counterparts to invest more than $1,000 annually in training per sales rep.

Learn More

Do you want to dig deeper? Purchase the full report.

Purchase Understanding Buyer Needs

You can also join our webinar on September 30th where I’ll be discussing these topics and more.

Register for our webinar

Carolyn Galvin on sabtwitterCarolyn Galvin on sablinkedinCarolyn Galvin on sabemail
Carolyn Galvin
Director of Partnership Marketing at Primary Intelligence
As Director of Partnership Marketing, Carolyn Galvin works with referral and strategic partners to extend Win Loss and Customer Experience programs to a wider community of B2B buyers. She also produces syndicated research reports highlighting current trends and best practices in Win Loss and Customer Experience Analysis. Prior to her current role, Carolyn served as a Program Consultant and as Director of Industry Insights at Primary Intelligence since joining the company in early 2013.

Carolyn has nearly 20 years of market research, customer satisfaction, and competitive intelligence experience working for large corporations and research agencies, including Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, and Frost & Sullivan. Early in her career, Carolyn worked as an Intelligence Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Prior to joining Primary Intelligence, Carolyn owned her own consulting firm, where she provided custom and syndicated research to clients worldwide on disruptive IT and telecommunications technologies.
Carolyn has two master’s degrees, one from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a second from Georgetown University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hood College in Maryland. Carolyn has also taken advanced Competitive Intelligence, Strategic Planning, and Strategic Marketing courses at the California Institute of Technology, as well as Digital Marketing classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since 2007, Carolyn has taught online global business and management classes part-time at the University of Maryland.
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