Today’s marketplace is intensely competitive and unforgiving. Customers are far more sophisticated than in years past and have instant access to vast amounts of product information and reviews. Combine this with the fact they’re barraged with marketing messages that do more to commoditize competing brands than differentiate them and you’re left with an inherently skeptical and distant buyer.
Insight selling provides a way to cut through all the noise and elevate your approach in the eyes of your customers. The strategy is simple, create actionable insights (information that can be acted on) that help your customer be successful and they’ll reward you for your efforts. The execution requires a little more effort and a renewed focused on understanding your customers’ business and goals.
The following three examples will provide food for thought when creating your own insight selling strategies.
01: Greeting Cards Manufacturer
INSIGHT: Provide customers with new local market comparisons of like store performance. Then use insights to demonstrate the potential bottom line impacts associated with remodeling their stores or totally converting from competitive brands.
STRATEGY: Combine store specific performance metrics (daily scripts and profit margins) and key product data with company provided territory data for customer purchases and local market demographics.
RESULTS: Removed customers/prospects main objection regarding relevance of data and insights. The strategy created the environment to redirect the customer from focusing on small transactions to larger, more transformative big ticket items.
02: Industrial Wholesaler
INSIGHT: Provide customers with analysis regarding the additional costs and disruption attributed to their planned vs their unplanned MRO purchases. The goal being to create awareness as to the volume of those unplanned purchases and demonstrate the significant financial benefits of converting more of them to planned purchases.
STRATEGY: Developed insight by analyzing customer specific purchasing behavior regarding their planned vs unplanned purchases. Then calculated the annual cost savings over the last three years had the customer purchased their unplanned purchases in advance.
RESULTS: The strategy transformed the sales force, providing them the ability to change the game on their completion. Enabling them to grab more wallet share of spend via advanced purchases of traditionally unplanned purchases and in the process dislodging loyalty for planned competitive SKUs.
03: Insurance Broker
INSIGHT: Provide prospects with industry specific insights regarding the potential costs associated with key risk exposures relative to their company’s size. Then demonstrate the brokerage’s past cost/benefit performance in mitigating those risks.
STRATEGY: Pull data from prospect’s website and publicly provided 5500s (Employee Benefit Plan Summary) and combine it with internal data to produce prospect specific insights.
RESULTS: This strategy has created new opportunities and built trust with prospects that traditionally don’t switch brokers. It’s also served to open more doors than the traditional approach that requires the prospect to commit to sharing data.
The good news is that most companies already have a number of good ideas for insights that would benefit their customers. It’s also likely that the data already currently exists within your company or from third party sources to create the type of insights discussed above.
As with any new direction in strategy, the biggest challenges are in the execution and change management. To develop the insights necessary to fuel your strategy, will likely require working with an outside expert that specializes in business intelligence or intelligent CRM to get started. When changing internal viewpoints on market strategy it’s important that your team understand how insight selling can be a game changer for them and the organization.
Be first to market or provide more relevant insights than the competition and everyone benefits. Ignore the trend toward insight selling and expect the reverse to be true.