For our September Webinar, Brian Hannon shared ways to get the most of your marketing research spend by using it throughout your sales process. To conclude the webinar, he answered some questions from the audience. Here are his live answers:
What would the process differences be if we were to collect survey or case study data instead of using a 3rd party analyst report?
The simple answer is that it’s a make versus buy decision. The make would be gathering that data. So at first, I would say you would identify the survey audience that you want to go after. So one group could be your existing customers, which would be an excellent group to start with. The other group could be your colleagues, and so you’d have probably have different questions for those two different groups. Then, you want to gather that data, review it, and capture it in a single place.
Once you’ve reviewed it, you’re going to start to notice trends. You’ll notice some anomalies and that may drive some additional questions back to some other people. But typically if you go through those two steps, you’re going to have enough data to begin to quantify the value and start to build a value story that it may be a first version, but it’s something that you can start with.
Our CRM data tells us that we are already seeing great ROI from using 3rd party reports. What can I reasonably expect to improve if I used these techniques or a tool like LeveragePoint?
My guess is that the data that they see are MQLs coming in and there’s a lot of good value to that. One thing that we see our customers start to do is to track when you have an opportunity, so an MQL is turned into an SQL, and that SQL is then turned into an opportunity in your CRM system. And now the question is, are you using a value story for that opportunity? So it’s very easy to begin to set up flags within your CRM system that says “yeah, here’s the value story, and here’s how it’s evolving over time.” What you’ll find is that most of the time folks aren’t using those studies as value stories during the sort of middle to later parts of the sales process. And that’s where you’ll see the biggest bang for your buck for something that you’ve already paid for.
What typical pitfalls do you see when people try to quantify the value that their products provide?
I’ll answer it in reverse. I think what we find is that most customers don’t quantify enough. So there’s a general feeling some for folks who haven’t done this before that they could never quantify something because they don’t have a hundred percent confidence that they are correct. And so they don’t bother and they leave a lot of money and a lot of value on the table. Our advice is almost everything can be quantifiable. It’s really how you tell the story. Lots of people talk about how they are selling the same thing essentially as the competitor. How do we quantify what our differences are? Well, our differences can be dramatic.
Your differences could be service level differences. It could be the location of your factory, it could be closer to the customer than the competitor. If they go down and they need new product, you might be two hours away versus six hours away. So it’s analyzing these areas, identifying the differences and not being afraid to quantify them. You may get pushback from customers and that say that they don’t believe a specific number, which is fine. You’re not trying to force it on them, but you want to go ahead and try to quantify as much as possible and then have them say, “well, take that out and take that out.” You can still come to an agreement that that gives you a lot of additional value that you wouldn’t have gotten if you never brought it up in the first place.