Substantial market intelligence can be the foundation for building strong customer relationships. Having considerable insight into a customer’s industry, for example, can improve the buyer's journey and make the role of the salesperson more effective. Market research and client intelligence aids such sales efforts as identifying the best new prospects, proposal design, pivoting to reach needs of emerging channels and aligning services with business objectives.
In this CPSA post, we'll consider some ways market intelligence can be utilized to help grow and nurture relationships with your customers.
Let's start with the human element in all this. Sure, market research, big data and sales analytics all help sales teams demonstrate thought leadership and garner trust.
Alongside this, however, is the need to show emotional intelligence, active listening and rapport-building skills. This means getting to know the stakeholders at a target account or existing customer.
It is often also the job of the sales professional to get to know multiple contacts at the organisation and gain insights into their biggest pain points in the buying journey. Building rapport alongside demonstrating market expertise means salespeople can better educate, inspire and, ultimately, build a compelling value proposition at multiple entry points in a customer organisation.
Finding the Ideal Customer
Finding the ideal customer is no easy feat. Successful sales teams strategically target customers that match a set of demographic and motivational criteria. Using resources such as research firms, predictive sales analytics and social media listening tech can help companies understand the ideal customer based on such factors as industry, engagement, sales cycle, and potential for growth in their market.
By applying a strategic search based on these and other factors, sales teams can develop personas, create lists of targets, search for new customers which match the criteria and focus energy on chasing the accounts which have the most immediate and long-term revenue potential.
Honing Your Approach
The best salespeople have the training and data to use multiple channels to reach buyers. Questions to consider when refining your go-to-market approach include 1) What are the best routes-to-market in a given territory? 2) Who are the key decision-makers at target companies? 3) Who are the right partners to help you reach markets? 4) How do ideal customers consume and interact with your sales content?
Lead with Disruptive Ideas
It is the role of the salesperson to show expertise and skills to support the customer's business goals. When sales teams - fueled with deep-level research - lead with disruptive ideas, they can offer a compelling value proposition, earn trust and set up a path whereby customers look to them to help evolve their business.
This includes knowing when to question a customer’s approach and existing processes. One way to do this is to demonstrate how your market intelligence supports efforts to adapt to macro trends.
Back Up Your Argument with Data
Usually, the customer doesn't have the time or inclination to figure out how all the features a product provides could impact their bottom line. That's the job of the research-enabled salesperson. Frontline sales professionals should be able to speak the language of the customer and know how to quantify opportunities to demonstrate their credibility. Market research should mean that a professional on the frontlines can intelligently explain the benefits of their product or service in a fluently and concise manner. Deep market research should give salespeople the resources to answer such customer questions as:
- Who is this company’s target audience?
- When are budgets allocated?
- Is the prospect's company doing in a growth phase or is it looking to consolidate?
- What are other audiences the customer might be expanding into?
- What new products or services have recently been launched by the prospect?
- What are the most seamless ways your services fits with the customer's business strategy?
- Have then been trends in the market which have recently impacted how the prospect brand is communicating?