Nearly every company faces this challenge at some point. They’ve designed a competitive product. The price is right. The marketing message is on-point. The sales team is loaded with rock stars. All of the pieces are in place.
And yet….nothing is happening. Sales are well below expectations. There isn’t enough growth in the sales numbers. Prospects are reluctant to close the deal, but it’s unclear why. The company isn’t getting traction, and it’s a complete mystery why.
A national medical device processor recently went through a similar situation. They run a service where they collect and sanitize “one-use only” medical devices so those devices can be reused multiple times. It saves hospitals and patients millions of dollars every year.
In 2003, the FDA expanded the number of devices available for reprocessing, theoretically opening up new markets for the company. The company’s marketing and sales messaging focused on the cost-effectiveness of reprocessing, along with market education on why reprocessing is safe and sanitary.
The company felt that once hospitals were confident that the process was sanitary, the cost savings would compel them to sign-up. It was, in the company’s view, a no-brainer.
Except it wasn’t a no-brainer. Hospitals resisted the service, and politely declined meetings with sales reps. The company couldn’t get any traction or make in-roads. It didn’t make any sense.
Change in Mentality: Outside-In versus Inside-Out
Unsure of what to do, the device processor hired us and we interviewed dozens of hospital administrators, doctors, and other potential clients. We found that the product was viable and the pricing was right, but there was a big issue the device processor had overlooked.
The processor had designed their sales process and their marketing message from the inside-out. That is, they looked at what was appealing about their product and then emphasized those points. The message was that device reprocessing was sanitary, easy, and cost-effective.
Had they taken an outside-in view, they would have learned that one of those three points was incorrect. Their service may have been sanitary and cost-effective, but it turned out it wasn’t easy.
We found that hospitals have well-defined processes in place when it comes to device disposal. Using a reprocessing service would require the hospital to retrain custodians, orderlies, and other employees who handle disposal. They would have to implement a system for identifying which devices can be reprocessed and which cannot. It wasn’t as simple as just signing up for the service.
With this information in hand, the processing company was able to recalibrate their sales messaging. They emphasized that they could help make it an easy process for the hospital and that they would work as the hospital’s partner during the implementation period. This pivot in messaging helped them gain traction with hospitals, grow their market share, and ramp up sales.
What is Your Customer’s Journey?
Unfortunately, this kind of inside-out approach is far too common. Salespeople, marketing departments, and even entire companies map their sales process based on what they want to tell their customers. They do too much talking and not enough listening.
The result is that they miss certain “pinch points” that could restrict their sales efforts, just like the medical device company missed the fact that their solution wasn’t viewed as being “easy” to implement.
The opportunity is to take a 180 degree turn from your current approach and view your solution and value proposition from your prospect’s perspective. How do they arrive at a buying decision? What are the roadblocks that could keep them from buying? Do they view your product the same way you do? What are their priorities?
When you know the answers to these questions, you can use them to reposition your approach and develop a sales process that’s in alignment with your buyer’s journey. You can anticipate their pinch points and even adjust your messaging to overcome objections before they happen.
How I Can Help
In my experience, it’s nearly impossible to simply snap your fingers and see things from your customer’s perspective. It takes time and effort. You have to really understand your customer , their buying process, and the issues they’re dealing with.
We can help you make this adjustment in two ways. In a one-day Jump Start workshop, we do a deep dive into your buyers and then map out the following:
- Your customer’s buying journey
- Their key buying activities
- Key players in the buying decision, and when they become involved
- Your customer’s value drivers
- Pinch points and buying concerns that could cause friction
- The triggers that initiate a buying journey
Next step is training your team to sell differently using a process that aligns with how your customer buys. This is a one day workshop with an ongoing monthly program to reinforce, iterate, and recognize progress.
Ready to take a 180-degree turn and start looking from the outside-in? Let’s connect and discuss it. We look forward to helping you share your customer’s perspective and partner with them to implement a solution that enables them to meet their goals and objectives.
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