20 Aug 2018, 12:00 — 7 min read
Summary: Your sales team can be of strategic importance to deliver market insights since they are the closest to the customers and well placed to derive and deliver the insight. Amit Sharma explains how to leverage your sales team effectively to emerge as a market leader in your segment.
Every entrepreneur wishes to build a successful business. The journey starts with finding great product ideas and evaluating its viability through market research. Based on the initial research about customers, market as a whole and competition, entrepreneurs build products that they believe will be appealing to the market, but the fact is that about 90% of startups fail.
What happens when ship meets the sea?
A well-researched product and business model is the key to success but testing and improving it is the decisive factor between failure and success. Gathering customer insight and adjusting your business model according to it, is what makes a business successful. Your sales team can be of strategic importance to deliver the insights since they are the closest to the market and well placed to derive and deliver the insight.
However, it is equally important to understand what insight is of strategic importance and how to gather & gauge it from the sales team through discussion and analytics. It is also important that information should be organised to make it actionable
An entrepreneur’s primary focus should be to identify the early adopter of your product/service that is completely ready for your solution including features, pricing, packaging etc. If you have precisely identified your early adopter segment and adjusted your model to their needs, then you are well on your path for early success. Some questions to ask yourself as a business owner to evaluate sales effectiveness.
I have seen managers relating these issues to team skills, but this can be an early sign that your target audience might just not be ready for your solution. Your market research may confirm that they may have a need for it but realising the need might require you to invest efforts through thought leadership and content marketing before you can penetrate the market.
This can be done if you have resources, expertise, time and funds but if any of it is missing then it’s a clear message that you should shift your focus to the segment that is already matured and ready. This will help you focus on the right customer segment.
Identifying the right market segment that is ready for your solution is the first step towards success. This is followed by market penetration, when you would like to extend your reach within the market by offering customers what they desire. Your sales team can play a crucial role here in bringing you the insight about the gaps in your business model that once filled will help you extend your reach deeper in the market.
Gather insights about:
Your sales team should deliver this insight to you at the early stages of the business for better market penetration.
Unique Value Proposition
Building a unique value proposition is what separates you in the market and market rewards you by delivering customers as your business advocates. Your sales team can bring you this crucial insight about your competition's strengths and weaknesses from prospects.
Sales teams are at all times in touch with prospects, talking to hundreds of prospects and hearing valuable inputs about your business model and competitive landscape like:
Entrepreneurs can use this insight to build SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threats) analysis and identify opportunities that they can tap to make their business value proposition unique in terms of product features, pricing, packaging, additional support & services etc. as well as fill the gaps that pose threats to your business offering.
Customers associate themselves with a brand and not a product. They invest on a brand. They are loyal to a brand. Establishing brand authority helps businesses get a winning edge. It is quite important to build a strong brand for businesses to conquer a market. But before this, a business owner should know how their brand is perceived by prospects and the market. What are the brand elements that hold positive value and negative value?
Your sales team can unlock this secret for you. They can reveal this insight with questions like:
Answers to these questions will help you decode your perceived brand value as well as what customers expect from your brand.
Organisations that have been strategically deriving this insight from their sales team through discussions and analytics are always on the way to success and ahead of their competition.
Would be very interesting to hear from entrepreneurs who are already exploiting insights from the sales team to build company’s strategic directions and their learnings from this process.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
Posted byAmit Sharma Sales Trainer
Amit Sharma is a Business Strategist and Author of AMAZON BEST SELLER Book "Sales Decoded". He is CEO of "Dishah Consultants" a Sales Consulting &...