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Predictive Sales Analytics

Insight Selling: The Genuine Sales Effectiveness Tool



Buyers prefer to buy from sellers who are sources of helpful information and good ideas. Although this is not a new or even radical concept, many sales reps fail to bring new and valuable ideas to the table. Instead, they continue to focus on what they’re selling, not what the customer needs. And buyers see through thinly veiled product pitches presented as education. Research shows that 74% of buyers choose the rep that was first to add value and insight.

That’s not the only cause for concern for you as a sales manager, however. Since buyers can conduct research independently, they often turn to sales reps later in the process once they have a grasp on the solution. Buyers are completing 75% of their buying journey before even talking to a company. Although today’s buyer has access to a lot of information, that does not necessarily mean they have all the answers. Actually, the opposite is true: They still have questions, albeit educated ones. This presents an opportunity for sellers to share ideas and help buyers think these ideas through, therefore becoming the kind of sales rep who adds value and gets the sale.

This is why insight selling is so effective. It places the focus on the buyer and the buyer’s needs, by training the sales rep to uncover those needs and to offer new ways of thinking about and approaching possible solutions.

Insight selling is therefore more targeted. Each customer is different and is looking for different things. They also follow a different decision-making process and their desired outcomes vary. This is yet another reason for sales reps to be customer focused rather than going after prospects with practiced sales pitches. To succeed at insight selling, sales reps should problem solve on behalf of prospects. They should strive to thoughtfully discover and present solutions with quantifiable benefits.

To implement insight selling successfully, use these techniques to replace process-driven selling with deal-specific insights.

Step 1: Gather insight data
The essential ingredient in a successful sale is gathering important customer insights—hence the term “insight selling.” This knowledge enables a sales rep to align the value and benefit in the mind of the prospect. It also allows the seller to differentiate the solution they’re selling from competitive alternatives.

Therefore, the first step in insight selling is the gathering of data, so the sales rep has something to work with. This information should be stored in the CRM system you use so each sales rep and manager has visibility on the prospect’s journey. This allows sales managers to see the captured data to know where sales reps are in the sales process and how well they are doing. Capturing data this way will also give the team benchmarks to help them understand, manage and improve their sales outcomes.

Step 2: Develop insights
After capturing data on the prospect, it’s time to comprehend and develop the insights that are the basis for insight selling. Sales reps used to capture insights on their prospects and then subjectively assign probability to opportunities based on specific data points. Now, sales reps take all of the captured prospect insight and use that in their sales strategy. It increases their sales effectiveness.

To increase sales effectiveness, there are specific data points that are more helpful than others. Be specific with your sales reps about the data you want gathered during ongoing prospect contact and discovery. Suggest they follow these tips for a casual and natural way to add insight selling techniques into a sales conversation. In addition, coach your team to use the information they gain to:

  • Capture the question in data rather than text—Being able to show specific data points for where your prospect is struggling, and how they can benefit from your product or service is much stronger in numbers than text.
  • Develop a list of common answers to questions—As a seller, you are constantly learning with each prospect interaction. Keep tabs on the questions your prospects ask so you can be prepared for future prospects asking the same question. This process will help you learn more about your product or service, and help you become a more effective seller.
  • Give each question/answer with your prospect a score—This process can help you assess how your selling strategy is working. The higher the score, the more likely the customer is to purchasing your product. The lower the score, the more work you’ll need to do in order to show the value of your product.

Step 3: Practice insight selling
Insight selling is not rocket science. Insight selling simply focuses on the customer’s world. Sales conversations should be flexible and navigated by where the customer wants to go next. They should look like this.

Suggest to your sales reps to start with these three goals during conversations with prospects:

  • Educate the prospect with new ideas and perspectives.
  • Collaborate with the prospect.
  • Persuade the prospect that they’ll achieve results if they work together.

Above all, sales reps should be ready and willing to put forth ideas that are genuinely geared toward helping the prospect. This is what the data and research put forth in the early stages with the prospect will lead to.

Insight selling can benefit anyone responsible for driving revenue: business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives and sales managers. With the basic principles of insight selling in place, your sales strategy can gain the full power needed to succeed.


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