THIS YEAR IS WRAPPING UP PRETTY FAST.
With only 8 working days left in 2016, now is an ideal time to reflect on the past 12 months. Taking into account the wins you had, reflecting on the losses, and making adjustments where necessary could mean the difference between a wildly successful 2017 or a stagnant one. It can be a daunting process, but here’s three easy ways to start:
1. Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Personas
This year, I’m sure you’ve talked to a lot of people. A LOT of people. Take a step back, look at the customers that were easiest to work with, and identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Here’s the catch – make sure that your personas are accurate and update them as necessary. These personas need to reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals, not the customers you think you want. The customers you think you want and the best customers you already have may not be the same thing – make sure you adjust your expectations and work planning accordingly.
Make sure you take a peek at the key differences between your buyer personas in 2016 and 2017. Note what has changed. Notice what has stayed the same. As technology changes, the way we do business changes – what may have worked in past years for your personas may no longer be relevant – be sure to communicate these changes with your team to ensure you can offer your customers the best buying experience possible.
2. Document Your Buyer’s Journey
No doubt you understand the buying cycle of your customer, but just because you understand this doesn’t mean you are intimately familiar with it. Your contacts take lots of tiny steps along the way to becoming a buyer. Make sure you account for every interaction point your ideal customer will have with your content or your company. This means working with your marketing team to ensure the process is nailed down tight? Are you coordinating your personal marketing efforts with that of the company you’re working for?
Keep in mind that each persona has their own buying journey – make sure you repeat this process for every persona.
Start at the end—what will they do immediately before completing a deal with you? What’s the step before that? The one before that? At each point along the way, identify the persona’s main questions, motivations, and potential objections. Then identify the kinds of solutions you’ll need to help them at each point along the buyer’s journey. Remember – you’re not just an I.T. solution provider, you’re their trusted advisor.
Don’t forget about the influencers in the process. Feed your main contact the content they need to help educate and sell you internally.
3. Confirm Your Differentiators
Make sure you’re clear on what makes you different from your competitors. Talk to some of your customers and find out why they chose to buy from you—and what could make them switch teams and buy from your competitors instead. This can be incredibly enlightening; often times the differentiators you perceive as most helpful to your clients are actually different than their experience with your service. Be sure to ask a few representatives from each persona to gather the information necessary to be the most helpful.
QUESTIONS ABOUT PLANNING FOR SUCCESS IN 2017?
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