Don’t Sell. Solve Problems Instead.

The days when you could land a sale by simply offering a discount or free trial are long since over. Now, smart prospects are focused on far more than price: they’re closely evaluating a multitude of options to find one that genuinely solves the problems that they’re facing in their business.

That means it takes more than simply presenting a list of features and technological specs to wow a prospective buyer. You need to put your solution into context: How can it help you (or you, or you)?

It’s time to better understand your target and retell their story with value messaging.

Who is your buyer? What are their pain points?

Let’s say you’ve been trying to land a prospect for months. You know that they have the resources to invest, and that your solution will fit their needs.

But they won’t bite.

Is it time for the fish or cut bait conversation? Not necessarily. In this instance, a better understanding of your buyer personas will help you understand your target and make sure you are providing that value messaging that seals the deal.

“We need to do a better job when we engage with someone, to engage with them in their context.”
-Mark Roberge

Tony Zambito, a business consultant, developed the first buyer persona methodology more than a decade ago, and defines buyer personas thusly:Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.

In order to come up with detailed buyer personas for your prospects, spend time talking to your current customers and break them down into identifiable segments so that you can come up with a representative character sketch for each type of customer, focusing on a typical demographic profile including age, location, job title and function, and what drives them and what problems they may be facing in their current role.

Along with this, look at how each type of prospect might process information and make decisions–RAIN Sales Training has defined some common archetypes to use in your own persona development, including the Analyst (“I won’t believe it without hard data”); the Collaborator (“I need to get my team on board before making a decision”), and the Innovator (“I want to brainstorm creative ideas to move my company forward.”)

Discover and solve problems

You have discovered your buyer’s persona and mapped out a working relationship. Now it’s time to solve problems.

Look at survey data, talk to existing clients about similar key issues, and look at how your product is already being used to solve those key issues. At this juncture, you’ll discover that your customer is likely considering three scenarios: 1) Do Nothing, 2) Work It Out Internally, or 3) Consider the Competitor.

By developing customized sales content, specific to your buyer’s vertical, persona, and problem, you’ll be able to work through these scenarios.

Do Nothing: Attach your solution to the biggest business problem they face. Help them understand how your product fits into solving the overall problem. Compel them to take action instead of settling for the status quo.

Work Internally: Help them be realistic about where the bar needs to be set for success and how capable their internal resources might be. Encourage them to consider all options, but draw the conclusion that a proven, trustworthy solution (with you) is more efficient and less expensive than the costly mistakes that often come with an internal hack job.

Consider the Competitor: Don’t let them assume that everyone is similar in value. Influence the buying criteria early and continuously map it back to their specific problem and goals.

Look at existing experience and insights, but don’t be afraid to reinvent. Your multiple buyer personas will require a unique solution. Make an effort to become an integral part of their business, not just another vendor. Solve problems and sell the relationship all the way through.

“We need to do a better job understanding their specific goals, the specific challenges they’re trying to solve and translate that generic marketing that’s on our website to their business.” -Mark Roberge

Now, develop your message

Each persona will require different messaging to address their specific pain points. Year after year, the “inability to communicate value messages” is rated the biggest inhibitor to sales success in the MHI Research Institute survey.

Customers used to accept a simple presentation of functions, features and benefits as valuable selling points from sales reps, but now they can easily find all of that online. What the product does no longer makes the decision. The customer’s journey to the solution is the value messaging.

And, it needs to be dynamic.

Building value messaging has never been so complex or required such a high level of customization. The various focal points along the customer journey have to be adapted to the buyer persona.

Here’s our solution

Just-in-time content allows reps to customize for the buyer’s individual persona and context. Sales reps have the tools to explore and communicate diverse value messaging and solutions to any type of prospect they encounter. Furthermore, just-in-time content enables sales teams to customize messaging and metrics for three audiences within one prospective company: enterprise-level, workgroup-level, and user-level, as well as the buyer personas within. Rather than sticking to a script, reps can now use their mobile-based sales training content as a rough guide to help them solve problems WITH each level of decision maker. Being prepared for this multi-level, multi-persona value messaging will be crucial to your sales team’s win/loss ratio.

“We need to tell the story from their perspective, that’s the best reps that we have, that’s the skill that they actually possess.” -Mark Roberge