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The Power of Commercial Insight (and Fishing)

B2B sales teams need a new direction

Casting a fishing net on the river catching fish in ChinaNo-one knows where the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” comes from. But everyone knows it because it’s so useful; it describes a valuable lesson that can be applied in many situations.

Not least of all the workplace: learning a new skill that you will need again and again in your job is far more valuable than having someone do a task for you. And of all the world’s workplaces, B2B sales teams are in particular need of new skills at the moment because of huge changes in the way companies now buy from one another.

Myriad factors now influence the customer’s purchasing process. For example, customers have access to more information than ever before. They’re doing research on the vendor, its products and services, and its competitors before they even think about making contact.

This puts a lot of pressure on the sales conversation when it does eventually happen, and this is where sales teams should be putting all their money on fishing lessons, so to speak. The sales conversation is where the rep has the greatest chance to differentiate his or her company from the competition, and so if sales teams can teach their reps how to consistently provide this differentiation, they can drastically improve sales performance.

How to Differentiate Yourself from the Competition

These fishing lessons come from “commercial insight,” which can be used to disrupt the customer’s purchasing decision – steering them away from the status quo and the competition, and towards you. It allows the seller to enhance the sales experience by teaching the customer something new about his or her business, and it makes messages more powerful by cutting through the clutter and creating the urgency to act.

Commercial insight is the label for a specific type of information – it’s typically developed by combining information (facts, data, industry trends, experiences, observations) with customer needs (business growth, increasing profits, reducing customer churn) to create a unique conclusion. And, it’s the core of any powerful commercial message.

Commercial insight is so powerful because it prompts customers to act on its message in a way that more general information typically does not, and this increases customer loyalty. CEB data show that 53% of B2B customer loyalty is driven by their experience of the sales process, and the message that reps provide is a critical component of this experience.

Creating commercial insight is the first step to succeeding in this new complex sales environment. But embedding this capability is the second step that makes the advantage a lasting one. It enables the sales force to consistently, and confidently use commercial insight and tailor it to different customer segments and product lines.


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