How do you build a compelling case for change; the kind that makes customers take action? According to the Challenger Sales method, it all starts with “Commercial Insights”. These are new insights that challenge customer thinking, while prompting them to your solution.The entire Challenger Sales method hinges on the quality of your Commercial Insights - but how do you find commercial insights potent enough to rip through barriers?
According to Dominic Ambrosio of CEB, you don't find meaningful commercial insights; you create them using a mix of art and science. Here's how:
4 Steps to Creating Commercial Insights
1. Gather Personal Observations
As a sales rep, you've been exposed to much more than the average customer. You've had a broad view of industry issues, like influences, motivators, risks, etc. Refresh your memory by looking back at your files, notes, emails, industry stories and case studies, gather all of your personal observations and bring them to the table.
2. Gather Industry News & Trends
Read. Read. Read. It may seem obvious, but it is your business to know everything about your industry. Are new policies or tax laws affecting your prospects? Is a new technology driving industry change? Are any new mergers shaking up the industry? Has one of your competitors had a victory or a setback? Has an industry giant restructured or filed for bankruptcy protection? Start with a broad industry overview, then narrow the focus to your prospect's individual goals and objectives.
3. Gather Customer Data
Some things you just don't know yet, but that's okay. You can obtain the information you need by conducting a survey. Carefully create survey questions that unearth data goldmines. Here is how you do it.How to create effective survey questions:
- Choose the best question type for the needed data. Different questions render different kinds of data, and not every question fits every situation. Comment Questions are discovery rich and bring out answers that you as the survey creator could never come up with on your own - but use these sparingly. They require more time and effort from the respondent, increasing the chances they will quit the survey. Multiple Choice Questions render clear data, which is easily analyzed, but do not convey deep observations. Rating Scale Questions work well to pinpoint exact measures of agreement, monetary units, miles, etc.
- Click here for help on choosing survey questions.
- Make it anonymous. Anonymity is critcal, especially for capturing the honest thoughts of people who know each other, like employees and managers.
- Ask both users and non-users what they want and need from the product or service. It is important to obtain feedback from both groups.
- Weed out bias. Questions must be worded properly to remove bias and get to the real issues.
- Hire a survey company (I know a good one) to ask customers in your industry questions about your brand, its uses, why they like it, what it needs for improvement, etc.
4. Form your insights
Here's the artistic part. Take the all of the information you've gathered and piece it together. Examine the whole picture. How do the pieces relate to each other? What would the outcome be if you changed some of those variables?
Finally, don’t confuse "Thought Leadership" with "Commercial insights". Thought Leadership focuses on the benefits of changing your actions. Commercial Insight focuses on the pain that will be incurred if nothing is done to correct a problem. Here is a quick test to make sure that you have true commercial insight.
True Commercial Insight does all of the following:Focus on customer problems that only your solution will fix
Break thought patterns
Prompt immediate action
Is it scalable for your company
Your prospect must understand that the status quo is fraught with problems that only can be solved with your solution. To start the process, gather all of the information you need from your experience in the industry, industry news, and customer data. Then study how all of these things work together to form your commercial insights.
It's all about confidence built on knowlege. When you present your findings to the customer, take control of the conversation by sharing stories that connect you emotionally. Decision makers appreciate a direct, honest approach-especially if you have personal stories to back up the message.
Invest the time in this and you may find yourself hearing: I need to fix this problem. Could you help me?
As always, we are here to answer any questions. We'd love to hear from you.