Question: Does your Sales Organisation use customer success stories and testimonials per product and industry verticals for online lead generation – and does your sales force leverage the power of customer success stories in industry verticals to their full extent in online lead generation, sales presentations and proposals?
According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 28.5%% of Sales Organisations have customer success stories and testimonials per product and industry verticals that are available to the Sales Force and for online lead generation.
In addition, 22.6% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that they are leveraging the power of customer success stories in industry verticals, to their full extent in online lead generation, sales presentations and proposals.
The ‘Features And Benefits’ Problem
Author and marketing expert, Joe Pulizzi said it best: “Customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves and their problems.”
When a prospective customer initiates their buying journey, they usually begin with basic research to short-list vendors who appear to be able to deliver the functionality required. They don’t want to hear from sellers, because they aren’t interested in features and benefits at this point – they want a better understanding of the challenge they are facing, as well as a sense of who understands what they are going through.
Their next step would then be to evaluate short-listed contenders, focusing on specific experience and whether offerings are relevant to the buyer’s specific context.
Here’s the problem: By the time buyers get to you and your solution, they are far along the buying cycle, without any input from you, and certainly no trust that has been built up during the sales process.
Even worse, most buyers are sceptical and risk-averse by nature. Few buyers today are prepared to risk purchasing from a new supplier without first having a high degree of trust in that supplier’s ability to deliver.
So, how do you ensure your prospects are willing to have the right conversations with one of your sales executives – at the right time?
Build Credibility With Customer Success Stories
Senior Harvard Lecturer and former ThinkSales Sales Leadership Convention speaker, Frank Cespedes, says that: “Buyers, especially B2B buyers, want to know what others are doing with your product, not what they themselves might do to improve productivity or other outcomes. Good case study content does that; while providing a compelling reason for the prospect to learn more and initiate a change process.”
In fact, research by DemandGen shows that two-thirds of B2B prospects rank industry-specific content as very important.
This is because prospective buyers view, filter and evaluate information through the lenses of their specific and unique contexts, which include factors such as:
- Their industry or sector
- A specific vertical or niche
- The size or footprint of their organisation
- The KPIs of their role within the organisation.
Top tip: Companies that tailor their content to illustrate how they assist organisations within specific industries, customer segments and/ or roles can quickly and effectively demonstrate relevance and alignment to their prospects — and will stand out from those who don’t.
To address scepticism, it’s important to build proof points. Social proof is critical for decision-making. Any proof points you have must be highly visible on your website and should also be presented to prospects by your sales force.
Prospects need direct and relevant ‘evidence’ that reduces the perceived risk of purchasing from a new organisation. As a sales leader, it is therefore up to you to increase brand credibility and gain customer trust to support action-taking and decision-making.
Prospects are far more interested in seeing what other customers have achieved through your solution, than they are in listening to ‘hype’ about your offering. Therefore, evidence to support your promised outcomes provides definitive advantages throughout the buying cycle – in the online space and via your sales forces.
What to include in each customer success story:
- Customer Industry Type
- When you began working with the company
- The problem they were experiencing
- How your value differentiator spoke to – and solved – their problem
- The positive results they were able to achieve as a result of your company’s intervention
- Include the monetary value of the ROI achieved.
Note: Keep each section short and to the point – your prospects need this information, but they shouldn’t have to read too much to get it.
Assess The Health Of Your Sales Organisation
Using customer success stories and testimonials per product and industry vertical for online lead generation and the sales force, and leveraging the power of this collateral and content to their full extent in online lead generation, sales presentations and proposals are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.
How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.
This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars of a high performing sales organisation:
- Competitive Strategy
- Customer Engagement
- Sales Talent
- Sales Management
- Sales Enablement
Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.