3 Key Strategies to Cultivate A Customer-Focused Mindset
Categories: Economic Change | Mission Critical Success Series
This blog is part of our Mission Critical Success Series, where we dive into the strategies leaders are using to execute on mission critical sales objectives during times of economic change. Each week, we will cover a different essential area of sales effectiveness. Check our blog next week for the newest installment, or subscribe for updates straight to your inbox.
Getting customer-focused is an organization-wide initiative that requires alignment of strategy, messaging, content and seller skills. The ability to center your customer in the sales process is a major growth driver, and especially important when customers are dealing with challenges like economic change. Budgets are tightening, and decision makers are under increased scrutiny. When effectively executed, a customer-focused sales process will lead the buyer to view your solution as vital to their success.
A focus on the buyer requires a mindset shift at the seller level, but there are several actions leaders can take to begin to cultivate a customer-first culture. Dig deeper on getting customer focused and effective strategies leaders are using to drive revenue in the current economy.
1. Build a Message That Centers on Value
The first step to creating a customer-focused sales process is to align your entire commercial organization on a new message of value that communicates your solution in terms of customer outcomes. Chances are that your customer is under increased budget scrutiny due to rising economic tensions, so communicating the return on investment is crucial to close the sale in the current environment.
Enable sellers to have conversations about the business value of your solution, not features and functions, by implementing a repeatable value framework. Developing this framework requires a deep understanding of what’s important to your buyer, what differentiates you from competitors and how you’ve improved business for past customer organizations.
Alignment between Sales and Delivery is crucial to implementing the value framework. The goal of your delivery team is already to improve conditions in the customer organization through the successful implementation of your solution. Sellers, however, tend to view their success point as the sale. Take a look at what FM Managing Director, Brian Walsh, said on this topic in a recent conversation:
Help sellers shift their goal post from “the sale of the moment” to when the customer organization sees a return on their investment and reaches the desired outcome. This mindset will enable sellers to not just sell a product, but to sell a vision of the desired outcome.
When Sales and Delivery collaborate around a universal understanding of value, they are able to continuously add value for the customer and further improve the message. Implement a cadence for customer success teams to share proof points that demonstrate specific business outcomes attributed to your solution. These proof points can be used to evolve the value message, expand the sales pipeline and create repeatable revenue.
2. Equip Your Sellers to Execute Great Discovery
A thorough discovery process becomes especially vital in the face of economic change. Decisions may require the approval of additional stakeholders, each with their own criteria. Truly great discovery should uncover all of these stakeholders and address all of their voices.
A customer-focused perspective on discovery can enable salespeople to uncover additional challenges. Find the root of those challenges and present them in the framework of your solution. The key is to identify additional stakeholders early in the sales process to reduce possible stalling and conflict later in the deal. By identifying and addressing concerns early on, sellers can not only reduce the likelihood of discounts and “no decisions,” but can also influence the decision criteria itself by communicating on value in the early stages.
Great discovery is a fundamental sales skill that can be supported by the content your enablement team creates around your value message. Provide sellers with a repeatable process for directing these conversations with resources like trap-setting questions, proof points and agendas that align with your updated value message. This ebook dives deeper into how leaders can equip their team with a sales execution process that aligns with their message of value.
3. Reinforce Vital Sales Skills
Once you’ve invested in developing messaging and tools that place your customers at the center of everything you do, maximize your ROI by training on the critical sales skills needed to fuel the results of your initiative. We know that great listening and discovery are key to a customer-focused sales process, so develop an intentional plan to ensure your team is able to consistently execute these fundamental skills at an elite level.
Front-line managers are instrumental in operationalizing your customer-centric strategy. It’s important that leaders invest in their managers’ fluency, not only in the strategies and messaging behind an initiative, but also great coaching tactics. Support managers by clearly defining what success looks like and outline key indicators they should look for during opportunity check-ins with their teams. Ensure that new tools and expectations are used as a curriculum, rather than a checklist. Great coaching comes from teaching, not inspection. Here are some great resources to share with managers to help them become better coaches.
Get Your Team in a Mission-Critical Success Mindset
Changing market dynamics are creating new challenges for buyers. Getting sellers customer-focused is the number one action leaders can take to improve pipeline and start strong in the new year. Empower your sales teams to uncover evolving buyer needs and avoid discounting or stalled deals by providing them with value-selling strategies and skills. Reinforce these key areas to ensure your team is equipped for whatever sales challenges they meet this year.