Your prospective client is trying to understand their problem and what they need to change to reach their desired outcomes. Today, almost everything we do provides data, and buyers and decision-makers are interested in it because it provides an objective view to their problems and potential solutions. As a salesperson, you can use data to bolster your claims in the sales conversation.
Despite this, many sales organizations fail to use data as they pursue strategic targets. These sales teams are at a disadvantage because buyers want certainty, and a lack of data can make it more difficult to win clients.
Data in Cold Outreach
You can start using data in your first communication with your prospective clients. Instead of sending a cold email about your company and your solution, you can send a message containing data and insights that help the client understand their environment or the challenges in their industry.
You can also use data as the focus of your nurture campaigns. A data-heavy approach allows you to create value for your prospective clients over time, warming them up and proving you belong in the room when they make decisions.
Data in a First Meeting
Some time ago, I had a client who argued with me about the need to spend more money. We were failing together. I asked for the money, and my client refused. His belief that he could get the results he wanted with the same budget was no longer true. No amount of arguing could change his mind.
This client spent $2 million annually, and we wanted to ensure he would succeed, so I built a slide deck designed to prosecute my main contact’s belief. I used several large databases to build my case, using many more slides than necessary. While my subjective experience couldn’t change his mind, the data did.
This event led me to invent a modern sales approach built on the data that allows me to explain why a client is failing to produce the results they need. Rather than asking the client about their problem and their pain points, I use data to explain to them why they were struggling.
Data in Discovery
Ken Wilber is a philosopher responsible for integral theory, which categorizes everything in the universe into four quadrants. The top-right quadrant is the objective view of something, i.e., the data. Most salespeople spend most of their time asking clients questions about their subjective beliefs, ideas, and preferences. While this is incredibly important, it often clashes with the reality of the data.
You need to use data two ways in discovery. First, to understand the root cause of your client’s problem, you must ask questions that can produce supporting data. Too few salespeople ask for the data, failing to acquire the objective truth of their clients’ results. Without this data, they cannot understand the root causes of their clients’ problems. This is why a modern sales approach addresses the relevant data.
Second, you can share your data to explain your client’s results in comparison. A simple survey can provide you with a rich set of data that gives your contacts a better, deeper understanding. Only two prospective clients have refused the data I shared, and both went out of business a short time later.
Data about Your Results
One question buyers ask is about the results they can expect. When the salesperson lacks data to share, clients lose confidence in the salesperson and their solution. Many expect you to have data around your solution and your current client’s results.
Recently, I engaged a company for a project. When I asked them what kind of results I should expect, the salesperson answered he could not talk about any of their clients. I protested, asking again what I should expect from my investment.
Without providing information around results, you are asking your clients to go with you on faith alone. In a time of great uncertainty, certainty is necessary. Your contact needs to know they will succeed and that they will not fail to produce the results they need.
The Presentation of Data
A picture does much to teach something important. While the raw data is important, a chart, a graph, or some other way of displaying the data can help a client understand the main points at a glance.
When you organize the data in a straightforward way, your contact can understand its implications. This allows your contact to make sense of the data on their own, without an explanation from you. A presentation of data without your commentary often hits harder.
The Increasing Need to Use Data in B2B Sales
Our world comprises data. Now that everything that can be captured is being recorded, you have the advantage of using data to help your clients and improve your sales approach. This is not to suggest that data is the only way to help clients understand what they need to know or that stories are not also important. But a lack of objective truth is often a more effective strategy.
Data used for prospecting and nurturing clients can help you acquire a first meeting that can benefit both the salesperson and their client. Failing to ask questions about the client’s data is a tremendous mistake because it can allow a subjective explanation to mask the root cause of the client’s problem. Without addressing the root cause, your solution may fail the client, making you responsible for their poor results.
If you believe that you are responsible for leading your clients, the data you use can help you support your advice and your recommendations. Without data, what you say may be treated as pure conjecture. When certainty is necessary, as it is when a person is making an important decision, you would do well to use data to make your case and provide your client with a better sales experience.