Of course, you talk to your customers. And it should be no surprise that they’re happy to talk to you. They’ve just spent time and money selecting your company and solution and they want this relationship to work. They’re happy to follow along with your line of questioning, confirm your product features and capabilities and tell you what you want to hear. It’s in their best interest.
It’s always smart to talk to your customers but it’s highly unlikely they will reveal any features or capabilities that were lacking in your solution or tell you that several committee members had concerns with the negative feedback about your company (accurate or not). Nor would they tell you why you didn’t make the shortlist or why your company was eliminated after the demo. These insights can only come from the deals you’ve lost.
The Good News.
These are the kind of insights that can really shape marketing’s perspective of what buyers are thinking about as they research and evaluate options early in their decision and arm your sales reps with the selection criteria they need to focus on in order to influence a prospective buyer’s purchase decision.
The Bad News.
These buyers have moved-on and don’t want to talk to you for fear that you will try to re-engage with them and your own sales organization doesn’t want you to talk to them either, in case you uncover failures in their sales strategy.
You’re on your own, to sell the buyer on why they should speak with you.
You’ll need to master an unscripted conversation that’s free from bias and encourages people that don’t want to talk to you, to share their true stories and buying experiences openly and freely. And you’ll need a background in sales and sales management to follow the purchase process and know exactly where and when to probe for deeper insights.
You can do this!
Our clients have used the information from our insight interviews to uncover the factors that trigger a search for a solution like theirs and all of the attributes of their company, product and service that recent buyers evaluated and said influenced their opinions and final buying decision.
We interview recent buyers (lost deals, won deals, no decision deals and deals that went down without your involvement) and look for the patterns and commonality across these interviews to determine which criteria consistently influences a buyer’s purchase decision.
Speaking the buyer’s language
We record these interviews and our clients use the buyer’s verbatim quotes to provide genuine, authentic messages that prospects can actually relate to, that speaks their language and connects with them on such a level that they call your reps earlier in their process.
This is a big one. The buyer quotes remove all the guesswork and assumptions, so our clients can provide answers to what buyers say really matters to them rather than using the same jargon and approach that their competitors are using.
Our clients have built case studies that focus on business and personal outcomes that they know buyers are trying to achieve, dealt with the perceived risks and barriers that sales reps are likely to encounter and focused on the selection criteria that recent buyers prioritized in order to win new deals.
And their sales people have continued this theme, sharing the details and capabilities that inﬂuenced the selection process in recent purchase decisions to guide prospective buyers through their own decisions.
Connecting with self-educating buyers
Most of the technology buyers that we speak with tell us that they disqualify a lot of vendors and abandon deals early in their search simply because there is so much information available that they just can’t seem to make sense of it all or that they just can’t translate all the jargon and technology speak well enough to be able to match their specific requirements.
But the really interesting feedback that we hear over and over again, is that the winners ARE getting called earlier in the process; they just seem to speak the buyer’s language and understand their problems better than anyone else.
More choice has led to more in-depth research. And many of these same technology buyers are turning to online resources to discover their options, research pricing and gather expert and peer recommendations. Before they ever pick up the phone and call a rep, they’ve formed strong opinions, evaluated and eliminated vendors and made dozens of decisions about their purchase.
If you’re able to speak their language and understand their problems better than anyone else, you’re much more likely to get them to call, request more information and help them ﬁnd your solution before they discover something else on their own.