Customer Hydration

 

Posted By Karen Meyer | Mar 10, 2014

 

Headed back from another great Forrester Sales Enablement Forum in sunny AZ and feeling an energy similar to what I experienced at last year’s forum. It’s a little different though. I started this year with two New Year’s resolutions: 1) drink more water and 2) understand our customers better. I’m happy to report I’m doing relatively well on both fronts. Both experiences, however, have been total eye openers for me.

Like water, hearing the problems our customers are facing is my fuel. In the first 42 working days of the year, I had 38 conversations with our customers. (Add prospective customers to the list and there is another reason I needed hydration. Listening is hard!) You may wonder why I was feeling like I even needed to take this challenge and it’s simple. My gut was telling me we may not have been connecting regularly enough and about the right things.

Fortunately, we aren’t on completely different paths, but one trend that was very clear across every conversation was EVERYONE is strugglingand some are flat out ignoring—with the need to really understand their company’s overall goals and strategies and how they impact those goals on a daily basis.

Hand-over-heart, pinky promise, I heard things like:

  • “No, I don’t really know how what our revenue goals are.”
  • “My proposal unit’s job is to increase production of responses. Deal outcome isn’t our responsibility.”
  • “Analytics and tracking are the responsibility of another team.”
  • “In my decade plus experience, I’ve never actually been engaged in a sales call. I have no idea how those go.”
  • “Our goals are to implement internal process. We don’t think about our buyers in that.”

My apologies to the customer who heard me audibly gasp when they told me that they “had no idea” if they were actually impacting win-rates.

We can debate definitions and terminology like ‘what does sales enablement really mean?’ for ages or we can start solving problems that lead to better sales execution. Together, we have the goals and needs (you bring those) and have methodologies and tools to help solve them (we bring those).

Moving the needle an inch could mean thousands to millions of dollars to your organization. And it starts with knowing your goals and your role in helping solve problems within your selling system - ultimately, how you are impacting your customers.

Take this little test (hint: if you can’t answer these questions, go find the answers!)

  • What are my companies top 2-3 strategic goals for the year?
  • What are our top 2-3 strategies for meeting those goals?
  • What is my real role in helping meet these goals?
  • How much of my time per day is spent helping meet those goals?
  • How do I know if what I’m doing is having a positive impact on meeting these goals?
  • How well do I know my customers?

And, if you still can’t find answers, ask for help. We have a team of experts who have worked with over a thousand customers to do just that and we’d love to help find your answers too.