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The First Rule Is...

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 30, 2010 7:09:00 AM

We’re in a good news/bad news conundrum.

    • Good News: Demand for services is up. The word recession is being used less frequently and business leaders are looking for ways to move the business forward.
    • Bad News: It is ridiculously competitive out there.  The Drought has caused businesses to radically cut their budgets, so buyers are harping on pricing with historical emphasis; and every competitor out there is willing to do almost anything to try and get the business.
This is precisely the type of market where Demand Creators excel, and the cost of traditional sales approaches are at their highest.  While I spend lots of time working with clients and their salespeople to develop and implement sales processes that enable them to become Demand Creators, the first – and most important step – can easily be done without me.

Simply:

Know & Understand Your Customers Better Than They Know & Understand Themselves

I’ve written several times about The Shift that Demand Creators make.  They sell critical business results, while everyone else sells products and services.  If you don’t understand – and I mean really understand – the business results your customers are pursuing, there is no way that you will be able to adequately differentiate yourself from the competition to earn sustainable profit margins.

How can you learn more about your customer, before you even meet them?

    • Visit their website and find out what they are telling their investors.
    • Search their press releases and for forward looking statements.
    • Review their marketing presentations – what are they telling their customers?
    • Google their key executives and look for where they’re talking
    • Go to LinkedIn and see who you know that knows them and ask those people about their experience.
    • Read their blogs.  Follow their tweets.  Engage them.
    • Apply your knowledge about their business.  (If you don’t have any knowledge, nothing is preventing you from doing some first hand research.)


These are all very simple ways that can give you a critical knowledge advantage and enable you to stand out.  Yes, these approaches are available to anyone.  My experience says that only 5 – 10% of salespeople or selling organizations will actually do this.  That 5 – 10% are also the ones that will most likely be Demand Creators.

 

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation