Sales Impact Models: Why They Matter & How to Build Them

BY Jessica Helinski
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A prospect’s clear understanding of how your product or service benefits them can be what makes or breaks a deal. Building a sales impact model can help them understand. While things like rapport and social proof are also important to closing a sale, they can’t do it alone.

Even though we realize the importance of demonstrating ROI, not all reps are doing it. In fact, research shows that only 16% of salespeople are very effective at it.

Buyers need the ROI case to justify purchase decisions, but they don’t get it from sellers,” writes RAIN Group’s Erica Schultz. “When you’re able to answer the ‘so what?’ question, you demonstrate and quantify the impact your solution has on buyers.”

What are sales impact models?

Schultz defines an impact model as “a set of assumptions about how buying from you will financially benefit the buyer.” It should be based on factors directly related to the prospect and their business and highlight specifically how your solutions will help.

You will obviously need to be very familiar with all aspects of their business, from their current pain points to future goals. Your research and the prospect's answers to specific questions will uncover this information, and Schultz recommends asking questions that relate to the following (which can all be quantified):

  • Time to market
  • Profitability
  • Waster
  • Cost in relation to improving/​maintain quality
  • Salesperson performance
  • Brand recognition/​preference
  • Employee productivity

Note also that by understanding all of these factors, you'll boost your own credibility in the eyes of prospects. Plus, you'll be giving buyers what they want: SalesFuel's Voice of the Buyer study reveals that 57.4% of buyers say that a seller knowing how their product or service will specifically help them, the buyer, reach goals is a top attribute.

Building sales impact models

As mentioned before, the more personalized and specific these models are, the more effective they will be. “Your efforts should be customized to each buyer; if you make a generic or poorly constructed ROI pitch, it can lose you the sale,” Schultz points out.

She goes on to share five steps in crafting a sales impact model that will demonstrate how much value you can bring to the prospect and what they can expect from working with you.

Map your contribution

Every successful model begins with the seller mapping out what they bring to the table. Map out the problems that you solve, what you offer that solves those problems, and the impact solving those issues has (both financially and emotionally). The clearer you are about the variety of ways you can impact buyers, the more effective your model will be.

Ask specific questions

As SalesFuel has shared before, asking questions is so important to sellers’ success. Even when you’ve done effective research, gaps will exist. This is where questions can provide important context. And this context is vital to crafting a sales impact model. Schultz recommends asking questions that:

  • Highlight specific financial information that will help you make your ROI calculation.
  • Uncover the emotional, rather than just financial, impacts of a solution.
  • Reveal what could happen if a solution isn’t put in place (i.e., the risks and negative impacts of not implementing a solution).

Collaborating with the buyer

As Schultz points out, reps aren’t creating personalized sales impact models but rather throwing out one-​size-​fits all ROI cases. This mistake can easily be prevented by collaborating with buyers. “When you build ROI for the buyer, they don’t own it and they’re not invested in it. But when you do it together, the buyer is invested and they’re more likely to see that the ROI cam be reasonably achieved.”

Visually demonstrate your impact

The fourth step in creating an effective sales impact model is showing rather than telling. "Give your audience visual components to remember," Rachel Cagle writes for SalesFuel. "Images and simple charts are far more likely to remain in a prospect's or client’s brain than overly detailed text and tables, especially if you tie in a GIF or other component that will make the audience laugh."

Schultz agrees, suggesting that sellers be mindful about how many numbers they share and to prioritize which data points they include to keep buyers engaged. Showing your impact in a concise, clear and visual way can prevent them from getting lost in a sea of numbers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to marketing for help with creating visuals; the efforts will be worth it. “The idea is to show the ROI visually so buyers can see the difference between their present reality and their projected one,” she writes.

The final step

Check out the rest of Schultz’s article to learn how to complete your sales impact model. By crafting a compelling and highly personalized model, you will be able to clearly demonstrate why the seller should choose your solution. For more tips on effectively demonstrating ROI, take a look at these past SalesFuel articles for guidance.

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