Research, Research, Research we know we’re supposed to do it. The good ones do, the bad ones do very little and the great ones simply know because they do the work weekly and not before a call.
When I started out in sales I was told to do customer research. No one told me what I should be researching, why and how I should use it. I researched everything wasting hours of time on the non-essentials. Some account managers and key account managers can get paralysed by over research. I want to speak to those working diligently getting to know your customers.
Stop trying to research everything and get to know the most important things first
You already know what your client does. Outside of this here are 7 things you should know about your customers today that offer a lot of richness to great client conversations.
- Why they buy from you? - problem they’re trying to solve or result they’re wanting to gain that they believe your product or service solves.
- What they buy and how much they spend on it? – This is really helpful information in knowing where their investment is going. Two questions you might ask yourself when seeing this data is: How do they determine how much they’ll buy (is it reactive/proactive)? What allocation of their budget do they put to it?
- How they buy and the stages for different levels of buying agreement? – who has typically been involved in purchases? Is it always the same people? who else do you need to make sure you aware of when looking at buying agreement above your normal spend with your client?
- When they buy and why? - This is a helpful trigger to understanding your clients buying cycle. You’ll also see where you may be able to change buying behaviour and map out a more predictable forecast for purchases of your service or product. If you assume in your pipeline you'll be unpleasantly surprised. Tell your customer about the trend you've noticed and get their thoughts.
- What’s most important to them about working with an external partner? - Are the expectations between you and your client clear and being met. This wont always be evident so you have to check in periodically. If not make sure it is and you communicate this internally so you can deliver on it every time.
- What does value looks like for them today and in 6 months? – this isn’t the same as why they buy – this is an extension to it. You need to discover what the implications of your service based on their future needs might be. How do they see your product or service working for them as their business grows or as they move to different goals? The better you understand this the more opportunity you can create upfront.
- How they feel, think about and experience your company? Whats your brand? What weaknesses do they perceive you have? What wouldn’t they purchase from you because of it? A good pulse is needed on this. This will also require some honest conversation but also internal collaboration. You need to know how things are going with other departments who have contact with your client.
Bonus tip: don’t do research on your clients based on a moment in time. Work with your colleagues and internal departments perhaps checking in monthly. Ensure you’re not missing vital information. Don’t assume your CRM will capture it all. That is a fatal mistake.
Let me know if this has been helpful. For more tailored
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