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Building a Sales Team: Becoming Customer-Centric
Blog / Sales Management / Sep 1, 2015 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla /

Building a Sales Team: Becoming Customer-Centric

In my last blog, I discussed how difficult building a sales team can be, especially for a startup. Your sales reps need to be entrepreneurial-minded (what I call salespreneurs) in order to help get the company truly off the ground and headed toward success. Now let’s take a look at how these salespreneurs should focus their efforts.

Product Focus

Commonly a salesperson learns, in the main, about the products or services they are selling. When selling, they then relay all that they have learned to their prospects. They might throw in the marketing taglines as well, along with technical data—but the point is that they are focusing on the product.

If a sales team is really going to succeed, it must go well beyond this approach. Of course a salesperson must know their product backwards and forwards—but if a salesperson is mainly focused on the product, where does that leave the customer?

If you think about it, this has probably happened to you. You go out to purchase, let us say, an automobile. You’re in the showroom admiring a certain model. The salesman comes over and begins spilling out all kinds of facts and figures about that car: its mileage, its awards, its safety ratings. But beyond perhaps asking your name, that salesman doesn’t ask much about you, or your preference in cars, or your particular needs in a vehicle.

If this has happened to you, you probably noticed you didn’t feel very much like anyone was helping you at all. You mainly felt the pressure of being sold a car.

Customer-Centric

The first thing a salesperson should focus on is not the product—but the prospect. Especially with B2B buyers, who can have many complex reasons for seeking out a product or service, the salesperson needs to know why that buyer is looking at that particular product. What is happening in their company that has caused this search? How could such a product improve matters, and have an overall positive impact in the organization?

This approach is called customer-centric sales.

In such a scenario, let’s take a look at what a salesperson should be doing with all that product knowledge they’ve spent time absorbing.

  1. First, the sales rep should be doing little else but listening. When the salesperson talks, it should only to be asking questions, and then carefully noting the answers.
  2. Then, knowing the product as they do, the salesperson can then weave connections between facts that the prospect has given them, and features and functionality their product provides.
  3. If the product is indeed a good fit for that prospect, the salesperson will be able to utilize a majority of the factors the prospect has discussed to connect to product benefits—one to the other.

It is very much like weaving a tapestry in which threads are connecting between prospect issues and solutions provided by your product. That tapestry then provides a unified view for the prospect, of exactly how your product is going to help the prospect’s company.

For a prospect that has been conducting a considerable amount of product research and is now drowning in a sea of unconnected facts, this “tapestry” can bring considerable relief.

Such a conversation, by the way, can be very “un-sales like.” While still businesslike, it comes across more as a friend or acquaintance helping another. And if done right, it actually is.

The Right Tools

For a customer-centric approach, you need a CRM solution through which all the details of customer issues can be carefully tracked and followed up. Pipeliner, with its visual, intuitive functionality, not only makes it possible for a salesperson to rapidly record and save all such data, but also makes it instantly accessible when the salesperson is again in touch with that buyer.

So, build your sales team of salesprenuers. And right away, get them being customer-centric.

Find out how vital Pipeliner CRM is to your success! Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.

Watch for the next in our series on Building a Sales Team.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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