You’ve got to understand your customer. That sounds like marketing 101. But we may overlook why that is so important for your business. Paul Orange, GM of eCommerce at GE, explains what you may be missing.
It’s not just so you can sell the right solution. CEB, the Corporate Executive Board, says that the the vendor that identifies the problem for the customer has the best chance of winning the deal.
And don’t forget, companies that didn’t win worked just as hard. Most problems are not rocket science. They’re almost obvious. The magic is in convincing your customer that there is a better way to think about their problem.
Your job then is to think about “What does our portfolio do to address the problem in a non-obvious way.” Paul says it doesn’t even need to be unique. It’s just got to be real, and ideally provable.
Once you’ve got that, your entire organization needs to be lined up on your point of view – phone sales, field sales, marketing, customer service – everybody.
There may be 6.8 people are involved in the decision for a complex sale. But even for commodities like filter paper there can be a lot of people involved. Each stakeholder in the group looks at problems differently, but you need to get them all thinking the problem is the same, which is why your team needs to be aligned as well.
People may not agree if they are just thinking about solutions. But you’ll have a huge advantage if you get them to start with the same problem!