Make a difference with customer dream thinking

Wessel Berkman

Until now, commerce has always been a linear model. If the ambition of your organization was to achieve more sales, you would increase the number of sales agents. And by obtaining a few extras such as CRM, a smart process, an experience centre and other commerce-supporting tools, you could add another five percent in additional revenue. We, as commercial improvers, made use of this. In addition, we would train sales agents with methods such as consultative selling, challenger sales and storytelling. All these training efforts were aimed at inspiring customers and at solving their problems.

It really was a different age. Control models still worked with product-supply driven performance indicators in reports and one-on-one meetings to discuss matters with your team. The goal of control is to find out where you are as an organization and how you can elevate the company to a higher level, together.

For example, performance indicators give indications as to the number of items sold and discounts given to customers. This is in sharp contrast with the modern idea that you should think in total solutions for the customer.

One solution would be to take as a primary performance indicator the added value you create for your customer. If traditional management models are not adjusted, you will only keep pushing your own products, despite solution-oriented training sessions for sales agents. It all comes down to a complete solution that makes sense and not just selling part of a solution.

Customer Success Portfolio
To achieve commercial results, it is fundamentally important to understand the Customer Success Portfolio (CSP). This insight is often lacking in organizations. The CSP offers the customer a dream solution that goes beyond the traditional product. Perhaps this dream solution involves six or more parts, instead of just your company product you are trying to sell.

When the CSP is clear, this provides you with several advantages: you will learn about the content of your customer’s dream by asking the customer about it. When you understand the customer’s dream, you can facilitate his dream solution.

If the CSP is mapped with the dream and the components that make up the total solutions, you also know what you want to do and how to do it. At any point in the customer journey you can determine which open questions you should ask to challenge the customer to clarify his wishes, needs and pain points.

The basis of sales is that you should know what you can do and what you should ask. After all, the more you know, the better you can make use of this information. Find out which of your questions are the best ‘latent pain’ questions with which you will challenge your customer to describe his dream solution, create the highest added value and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

What you can also do with the CSP is setting up a modern sales conversation in the Sales ART Experience Centre and the commercial academy with the best sales training. For example, offer your employees courses that involve your unique philosophy around customer dream thinking. Many organizations train their staff, but not specifically with their unique CSP.

The extra yield of Customer Success Portfolios:
– With the CSP as basis, you can easily determine your why, how and what. You know all the ins and outs of your customer’s dream. If you know his dream, it is easy to describe the why.

– The CSP offers insights into the type of partners you are looking for to facilitate the total solution. These are the parts that you do not have yourself or that you don’t want to deliver yourself, but are required to fulfill the dream solution for the customer.

– In addition, the portfolio will give you input for the content calendar and the customer journey. You will need these to challenge your online prospects in the modern world of digital sales and to turn every moment into a magical moment. Online plays an increasingly important role and you must have relevance with regard to the themes that matter to your customers. The CSP is the necessary input that marketing needs to fully support sales.

– Finally, the portfolio helps you to better organize your modern management model. With this new philosophy you can define new target values such as the percentage of latent pain per deal, added value and the percentage of the sales turnover together with other suppliers that are involved in delivering the total solution. You know what you should facilitate in order to provide the greatest value to your customer.

Make the difference!
I asked several businesses what their Customer Success Portfolio looked like. A striking conclusion was that none of these portfolios gave insert or complete answer. The focus was placed too much insert the organization’s own product. It is essential to create several CSPs for different customer types. With the CSP as basis, you will optimally build your commercial DNA with regards to structure and culture. And you will make a significant difference.

Wessel Berkman publishes regularly in MT, FD, New Leaders and Banking Review. He is the founder and commercial specialist within The Brown Paper Company and The Social Selling Company. His latest book is called ‘The Commercial Revolution’ and he is frequently invited to speak about making a significant difference in commerce and throughout your entire organization: wessel@thesocialsellingcompany.com

Do you want to learn more about what a modern sales machine and commercial blueprint should look like? Take the test, book an inspiration session and challenge your team to find ways to make a difference with your organization.

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