I remember the story of one of our engineering customers at Unit4. We’d invited their CIO to speak at an analyst event in Boston, and we were lucky enough we decided to record that speech. It became one of the most useful asset to teach our salespeople what they were actually selling. So, every time I showed the video, as the story unfolded, many facts went by about the size and dynamics of their business, the projects they were doing, and the challenges they faced on a day to day basis. But if you’d listen carefully, one single word would stick: “Confidence.”
The lesson I learned
One thing this video taught me is that everything starts with obtaining a deep understanding of the customer where we deliver our most significant impact: our ideal customer.
Understand what’s the change they seek to make for their customers i.e. their promise?
Understand what they aim to be or become. What do they care about?
Understand how do they measure progress i.e. their top business goals?
And obviously, understand what roadblocks stand in the way of success?
Value and urgency
Understanding this will set you up perfectly to start solving their biggest problem. You’ll automatically connect what you offer to what’s already perceived as highly valuable, and with that, create a healthy sense of urgency.
And guess what – often what they promise to their customers is what they look for in what they buy from you. So why do we usually try so hard to sell them something else instead? Why do we create this artificial gap between what we offer and what our ideal customers want? By closing this gap, you’ll be able to increase both your win-rates and deal-value.
Why customers buy and buy again
For the organization I mentioned above, it was not about the product or how the 1000s of features were used to manage their 7000FTE global engineering company.
It was the simple fact it gave them the confidence they could do anything – anything required to consistently setting their organization up to succeed in delivering upon the promise they made to their customers.
What they bought was ‘confidence’ – Confidence the business (not IT) could always be in charge, get new insights and new perspectives, make prompt decisions, make the change, and move on – no matter what. That’s why they bought it. That’s why they’d buy it again. That’s why they’d recommend it to their peers. One word – one feeling – one thing they cared deeply about.
I’ve been involved and driven 100s of messaging projects. I’ve trained hundreds of sales- and marketing people’ sell’ value – and all the time, our best work is delivered when we articulate ‘how customers will feel’ as a consequence of our product. That way we don’t have to sell – we make people buy. They buy the feeling of control; being prepared; joy; always being one step ahead; reliability; no stress; confidence – you name it. It’s not about the features of your product – it’s how those features make the difference for them in their day to day lives and what feeling that will unleash in them.
Knowing it vs living it
So back to the title: How do you want to make your customers feel?
Have you written this down somewhere? Is it on your website? How many people inside your company know? How many live by it?
It’s not a strange question to ask. It’s the single most crucial question brands like Apple ask themselves – before they start on any product.
What’s the next step you could take today to change. How would that make you feel?
Knowing this will give you a head start in unleashing the remarkable effect inside your software business.