The rise of “Big Data,” rich analytics and other capabilities enables sales and marketing professionals to engage the customer in very different ways. They also provide tools to provide more data driven insight in our deals and proposals to customers. Having business justified solutions is important to creating value to customers.
But I worry the pendulum is swinging too far to the analytics and data side. Sales is not “just about the facts.” Our customers have fears, uncertainties, concerns. Our customers are people and history tells us too many decisions are made for emotional reasons, later supported by the data.
As sales professionals, we both fail to serve our customers and we lose opportunity by not addressing the “total decision making process.” We have to address both the data and facts, we have to address the emotions and fears.
Too often, sales people fail to do this. Part of it is we’re trained not to look at the emotional side. All our work on value propositions, all the current literature, even what our customers tell us steer us to presenting facts, data, and analysis. We’re uncomfortable about talking, questioning, and probing the emotional and personal side of what the customer is concerned about.
I think there’s another element to this. The really great sales people I meet really care–it comes through loud and clear in every communication with the customer. Success to them is not just another order. It’s not just helping the customer achieve their numbers. Great sales people care for their customers–as enterprises, but more importantly as people. They want to see their customers succeed. They are driven by genuine interest in their customers.
Customers “get it,” and respond. Customers aren’t looking for just a transaction–even if it is just a transaction.
Sales is about people doing business with people. We can’t lose sight of this.