Are You Tapping Social Data to Anticipate Client Needs?

Sales professionals everywhere are remarking that their job is getting more difficult. It may not be their imagination. The 2016 Selling Challenges Study by Richardson explains what the problem might be.

Every year, Richardson surveys salespeople. This year, many of the survey takers, 75%, have a quota of at least $1.25 million. Here are the top challenges these folks are facing:

  •  Identifying triggers/​sales signals you can resolve 16%
  • Identifying target accounts 14.4%
  • Qualifying prospects 10.3%

Do any of the problems sound familiar to you?

Richardson analysts note that while identifying sales signals remains at the same level as last year, more respondents say that identifying target accounts and qualifying prospects will be a challenge this year. The root cause for the increased challenge lies with digital communications. Because the typical prospect is likely overwhelmed with inbound communications, he is turning to his trusted network when it comes to buying.

To get past this issue, your best strategy may be to listen closely to what prospects are saying on social media and then customize your solution to address any problems he or she has raised.

Sales professionals also say they’ll struggle with the following issues when dealing with existing customers:

  • Creating value/​insight during conversations 27%
  • Getting to the bottom of the decision-​making process 26.6%
  • Find the client issues/​challenges which will allow them to show the value of their product/​solution 19.4%

This difficulty exists in today's business environment when only 27% of clients believe a salesperson understands the issues they are facing (Forrester.)

Richardson analysts again point to the need for salespeople to arm themselves with data they need to make a difference during client conversations. This may mean going beyond traditional social media networks. To really excel, you need to become a consultant, an expert in the client’s industry. Consider taking steps like setting Google alerts about industry developments and check out  analyst reports or trade association white papers and annual state of the industry studies to keep yourself informed.

Your clients may like to talk about using big data to stay ahead of the game in their industry. You should be doing the same to stay ahead of your competition.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.