By immersing yourself in the customer’s or the executive’s world and understanding their perspective, you will learn to analyze and think like them. With this information, you can tailor and develop a killer value story. A powerful value story changes everything; it gives you the confidence to talk to anyone about what you do and sell your way to the C-suite.
REVIEW THE WORDS AND NUMBERS
Examine documents for themes, patterns, or movements (analyst reports, leadership presentations, CEO letter, annual report, Form 10-K SEC, proxy statement, and quarterly earnings call). See if you can discover enterprise goals, “big bets” (new strategic initiatives), key objectives by business unit and line of business, departmental initiatives, external environmental factors, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Review data that can be described, counted, and manipulated (cash-flow financial statement, income statement, and balance sheet). You can use the financial metrics you uncover during research to identify business opportunities. Analyze the financial data vertically for ratios and horizontally to pinpoint trends. Financial results drive strategic decisions.
- Use both a qualitative and quantitative approach. Find the sweet spot, the intersection where your newly discovered insights (interests and needs) overlap with your company’s products, services, or expertise.
Relationships with clients and executives are simple, yet we insist on making them complicated.
Remember that clients and leaders are human. And people only care about what’s in it for them. No one cares about your product, your company, how good you are at your job, or how long you’ve been selling your product.
QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH TIPS
For your qualitative analysis, search for themes, patterns, or movements and identify the pain, opportunities, and problems (POP). Find what POPs!
Here are easy three steps to start your journey into your client’s world:
Examine their social media profiles and posts. Follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn, and check out their Facebook pages. Find and review executive leadership presentations. Research your client and key individuals across their organization, including influencers, decision makers, and end users.
For public companies, search for the “Investors” or “About” pages on their corporate website and download the CEO annual shareholder letter.
To expand your industry knowledge, become familiar with analyst reports and market trends that will influence your client and their decisions. A website like Value Line (https://valueline.com/) provides accurate and insightful analyst reports and research on companies and industries.
What clients and executives care about is what your product or solution can do for them.
What problems can you solve?
What pains can you remove?
What goals can you help clients achieve?
How can you help your audience be bigger, better, faster, stronger, shinier, or quirkier than their competitors?
Solutioning is simple when you effectively use insight to connect with your client and audience.