Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Finding the Fit

In our last Tip we talked about developing a passion for the customer and being committed to helping them drive results. We also defined what we call the Business Fit - how two companies, working together, can drive critical business outcomes for the customer.

How do you figure out the business fit with a specific customer? Start by learning about the company's business - their critical business objectives, the key strategies they are implementing to attain their objectives, and the issues that could stand in their way.

Once you understand these things, you can look for connection points by thinking about the outcomes of your work together. If you and the customer worked together effectively, what is the outcome beyond the acquisition of your solution?

Consider this example:

Let's say that your equipment solution - complete with state-of-the-art safety training - results in a safer customer work environment. What customer objective, strategy or issue might be affected?

  • Do they have an issue with their current safety level?
  • Is there a negative perception about their safety they would like to change?
  • Are they having trouble attracting talent?
  • Is safety one of their core values?
  • Do they have a strategy to implement measures to improve safety levels?  
  • Do they have an objective to improve safety levels?

If yes, you have uncovered an element of your business fit. If not, keep looking.

Here is another example: What if your software solution, complete with implementation support, makes the customer more efficient? Do they have margins that are lower than desired? Are they implementing measures to become more efficient? Do they have a profit growth objective? If yes, you found another element of the fit. If not, however unlikely this is, keep looking.

What's the point of these examples? That you simply need to look beyond your solutions to the business outcomes they help create to find the business fit. And it's worth it to do so, because their business outcomes are always more compelling than your solutions!

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