Product Release Day

Take the 360 Degree View When Analyzing Buyer Needs

The Imitation Game, about the development of the first analytical machine, precursor to the computer, spawned an inspiring statement: “Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.

In the quest to break the Enigma Code, the leaders at Bletchley Park incorrectly framed the need to decipher within the context of a team of Britain’s most brilliant mathematicians and code-breakers. Commander Denniston was ready to dismiss Alan Turing outright for declaring what was really needed was a machine that could process possible solutions millions of times faster than humans.

During a Discovery session (post-sales opportunity debrief) on a strong win, a client learned an exceptional but unheralded practice of one of their middle-of-the-pack sales reps.

What caused the buyer’s decision?

Every Discovery session (debrief call and more) we conduct probes to determine if the sales team understood the buyer’s business needs. Typically, the need is framed by the buyer, but this can be dangerously limiting.

Analyzing Buyer Needs w/360 degree viewThe competitor in this pursuit worked from the need framed by the buyer and dropped off brochures on the requested solution. Our client’s sales rep, perhaps inspired by Alan Turing, cultivated a strong relationship with the buyer’s consultant, learning the touch points, and taking care not to skip over any points in his eagerness to make a presentation to the buyer. As a result, the rep gained valuable intelligence on nuances of the buyer’s situation, together with the shortcomings of the competitor’s solution particular to this case.

By gathering very granular data on the buyer’s issues over the course of several back and forth question and answer sessions with the consultant, the rep could craft a much more nuanced solution proposal that included something the buyer had never considered, but which improved his bottom line considerably. Everyone came out a winner.

Curiously, these key facts didn’t come out in the post-sale interview with the buyer’s consultant, and the rep hadn’t heralded them to his boss. They were teased out during the conversation between our program consultant and the cohort of client stakeholders, including the sales rep.

What was the outcome?

The action plan crafted to guide other sales professionals in the company: frame your value story around everything you can learn about the situation, taking a 360-degree view. If you rely on the buyer’s pronouncements about the need, you may miss a vital solution feature that will multiply the benefits for the buyer.

This Discovery session uncovered synergies that otherwise would get lost in the weeds of familiarity during typical in-house sales debriefs. Be sure your soliciting feedback from everyone involved in the sales opportunity and you, too, can come out a winner every time.

Need some help understanding what’s important to your buyers? Download this eBook to learn 3 key findings from the study that can help you increase win rates in close competitions right now.

B2B Vendor Success Ebook

Our Win Loss Analysis program drives results! See a 10% increase in win rate – guaranteed. Contact us today.


Suzanne Nightingale on sablinkedinSuzanne Nightingale on sabemail
Suzanne Nightingale
Program Analyst at Primary Intelligence
Suzanne holds several Microsoft technical certifications, undergraduate degrees in computer programming and economics, and has completed post-graduate studies in psychology and Human Dynamics. During her career at Lockheed-Martin, Suzanne worked on proposal teams for military C3I contracts. As a project manager, database analyst, and technical writer, she supported SIGINT and IMINT systems for the NSA and NRO. Suzanne enjoys the challenge of distilling large amounts of data into concise, actionable intelligence for her clients.
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