Datateer Amplify

Why to target Customer Success use cases right now

It is mid way through 2023, and there are some headwinds for selling data products.

Everyone is concerned about reductions in force, and they seem to have impacted just about everyone in some way. Even if you retained employment, you had friends who were impacted. Morale can be low. 😞

Financial services are a whirlwind 🌪️ right now, with banks failing and customers pulling deposits from regional banks and rushing to credit unions and larger institutions.

Sales quotas are still high, and everyone is scrambling. Not for crumbs, but the pie is smaller. Gartner cut its predictions for IT spending growth in half for 2023.

Customer Success

Customer success is actually increasing spending in 2023. Ray Rike and Gainsight are all over this in their “The Evolution of Customer Success” report.

Over 70% of organizations are increasing their investment in customer success. Most large companies have an SVP of Customer Success or a Chief Customer Officer.

It wasn’t always like this. 

But the stat that really hit me was even for SMBs, (less than $100m in revenue), one-third of them have an SVP of Customer Success or Chief Customer Officer. 

🔎 Why does this matter? Because these executives are looking for any way they can to hit their numbers. As a data product seller, you can relate to them. They have similar headwinds that you are dealing with.

Here are the primary targets, almost always tied to variable compensation of all the CS team members:

👉 Expansion Revenue

👉 Renewal Performance

👉 Customer Outcomes

With every CS rep having to handle up to 50 (or more!) accounts, this is a data-driven business. 

Having an understanding of core CS metrics and common systems in play (ZenDesk, CRMs, Intercom, etc) is all it takes to have the credibility needed to get into deeper conversations.

Here’s the other opportunity. Which departments to internal analytics focus on the most? It ain’t CS! Sales and marketing, operational efficiencies in product, and finance get all the attention. But these executives in CS have real needs, too. It’s an underserved market.

See more details and stats from Ray in his summary on LinkedIn

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Datateer Amplify

Become the Trusted Advisor for Data Product Buyers

Hello, friends 👋. Have you ever had a prospect go dark on you?

Not just any prospect. One who you are certain needs your product? Whose needs align perfectly with your product’s capabilities?

For the one you are thinking of, do you have a sneaking suspicion that it was something to do with you? With your relationship, or lack thereof? 

Did you focus in on improving your relationship-building skills? Do you feel like Linus from Ocean’s Eleven, trying to figure out how to avoid a blunder you aren’t even aware of?

I’m not a natural salesperson. But what I am good at is the ✨trusted advisor💗 role. It’s why I was in consulting for much of my career. It’s why I’m able to sell. People trust me.

People buy from friends, it’s true. Why do they buy from friends? They buy from friends because of trust. 🤝

What is this ✨Trusted Advisor 💗?

A trusted advisor is someone who earns the trust and confidence of their buyer. This opens up opportunities otherwise closed to you. It’s not just about being likable. 

Here is my dead-simple framework for becoming a trusted advisor:

  1. Authority ✨ 
  2. Caring 💗

Authority ✨

People naturally follow authority. Sales management often tells you to find things like industry-specific case studies. This signals to your buyer that you know about the buyer’s situation. 

But consider this difference. My mom is a nurse by profession. After one of my daughters had a surgery, my mom had a concern about the prescribed drug dosage. Did I listen to her advice? You better believe I did! I know she has years of training in drug interactions.

Am I going to listen to her advice about data architecture? No way. No authority there! Sorry, Mom!

Authority is more than case studies. It means you build up credibility on a topic of importance.

That is the main intent of the Datateer Amplify newsletter, to help you quickly build knowledge about data strategy and modern data architecture. Would you like more info on a certain topic?

Caring 💗

As a buyer, I know that you are here to push your product. But the more I feel you actually care about my specific situation, the more I am going to listen. 

Think about someone who unexpectedly remembers your name and things about you. We often call this building a relationship, but that isn’t quite enough. 

Caring is different than relationship-building ability. 

Back to the example of my mom. She's not just any nurse. She's proven she cares about me. I have no doubt.

Unfortunately, we don't get years to build up the type of relationship where our prospects know we care.

For me, Caring often comes down to simply spending more time. More depth in my followups. Taking time to arrange an introduction properly. Finding truly relevant resources to their unique problem. Getting creative with solutions.

Think about your recent interactions with anyone in a service role. Like calling into a customer service line, ordering fast food, getting a ride from Uber or Lyft. 

90% of the people are doing their job. 10% truly put an effort into you as an individual. You can feel the difference, right?

Authority ✨ + Caring 💗 = Trusted Advisor 

If you want to read the definitive guide, it’s in The Trusted Advisor.

Who Cares?

The data product landscape is crowded. Very crowded. VC money has been cheap, which means a LOT of founders got funded. That makes niches more competitive. It means more sellers, pushing more products.

But buying has slowed, making everything even more competitive. We all know that we can’t just push product. People can smell desperate sellers a mile away. 

But trusted advisors solve problems for their buyers. My aha moment on this was from reading Solution Selling. The key idea for me was that people don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems. 

Listing your product features is one thing. Understanding the problems

And trusted advisors outsell other reps by 2x-3x. 88% of buyers say they only buy from trusted advisors. 79% of buyers say they only interact with trusted advisors.

Won’t It Take Too Much Time?

If you are churning through leads and getting enough closed deals, you don’t have time to be a trusted advisor.

If your leads are unqualified, being a trusted advisor will waste time. 

But, if you have a chunky middle, get after it. Here’s what I mean. Your leads might generally skew to mostly unqualified or mostly ready to buy. Or, most of your leads may truly be in the consideration stage and are looking for solutions.

If you have a chunky middle, the trusted advisor role will be great for you. The time you spend following up and building authority will be worth it.

The trusted advisor relationship is solid gold for prospects who are in the middle. 

Some Techniques

Here are some techniques I use to become a trusted advisor.

👉 Know the Modern Data Stack! 👈

This is number 1, the most important part of this article. Here is the pattern I see time and again: a prospect finds a product they like. Then they realize they actually need 8 or more products to build a data stack. 

This leaves them confused and frustrated. Be able to explain the modern data stack. Help them understand categories of products and how they complement yours and each other. Be able to explain a progression or maturity they can go through (vs buying all at once). 

This is by far the best way to build authority when selling data products.

And, you have a secret weapon. I write this blog for you. What would you like to know more about modern data analytics? Any question is fair game. We will go do the research for you. 

Be curious

Genuine curiosity about your prospect’s business and situation will lead the conversation places you didn’t expect it to go. Let them talk. Ask them to clarify and dig a little deeper.

Contrast that with pitching product features. 

Genuine curiosity has led to some of my best customers

Have an opinion

There is a difference between a trusted advisor relationship and a yes-person. 

I’m always concerned about coming across as thinking I’m smarter than the other person. But if I don’t have an opinion, that’s somehow worse.

So I usually couch things through stories of my experience and what I have seen. I let them know their situation might be different. By doing this, I respect their opinion, while letting them know that I have a lot of experience solving or observing the problem they have.

Provide value

Most people don’t write good summary follow-up emails. 

Most people don’t look for and share articles that are adjacent to their product but address the core problem.

Most people don’t do a deep capability-to-need mapping, even if informal.

There are things you can do that are valuable to the buyer that are outside of pushing product. 

What if

Often a prospect wants a long list of things that I cannot provide. I often play “What if” as in what if you had a product that solved all of those things?

Then an honest discussion of what my product or service can provide. And then open brainstorming about how to fill in the gaps. 

Brainstorming or solutioning together builds caring and authority. 

I don’t know

I’m sure you have heard this before, yet so many people seem to forget this. I know I do.

“I don’t know–I will find out for you” is powerful. It shows you care about them having the right information and are not willing to make up an answer to keep things moving. It also shows you “know people.” That builds authority. 

Bonus Material

The best book I’ve ever read on this topic is not even about selling. Patrick Lencioni’s Getting Naked is a book for consultants who want to be trusted. Here is a visual from the book. Even reviewing it years after reading the book, I see so much value in being authentic and vulnerable with people. Highly recommend. 

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Datateer Amplify

Co-Selling Data Products to Crush Quotas

Co-selling ("collaborative selling") means working with someone from another product company 🤝 to sell both of your products at once.

Why do this? Wouldn't you both be fighting over limited budget? Isn't it hard enough already to close a deal without complicating things? 

🤫 I'll tell you a secret: in most cases, your product is not the solution the prospect needs. It's a part of the solution. 🧩

And at the end of the article, I'll air some dirty laundry 🧺

Contents

An all-too-typical story
Wisdom from the partnership trenches
How to develop co-selling relationships
My dirty laundry about co-selling and partnerships


💡 If you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter!

Let me know what you want to hear more about, to better sell and serve data product buyers. 


Here's a story I see frequently (YMMV, just go with it):

An all-too-typical story

It's 3 weeks until end of quarter. A warm lead comes in for a prospect that loves your BI product. It has all the latest and greatest visualizations and features they need. You have great industry-specific use cases. The price point is just right.

It's perfect. 

You ask, "Sooo, which data warehouse do you use? Let's set up a trial or POC"

To which the prospect replies, "What's a data warehouse?" 😓😩

And you realize this slam dunk deal just turned into a 6-9 month, education-heavy, drawn out ordeal. 👋 Goodbye, deal that could have put you over quota.

If only there was some way to accelerate that timeframe. But how? 

Co-selling, my friend. You partner with a rep from another company whose product or service compliments yours. 

Maybe your partner's "Warehouse-as-a-Service" turns those 6-9 months into 3 weeks. And bam, you've closed a deal together.

And to me, the most important part: the customer is better off for it. You've thought outside of yourself to bring a solution to their real problem. You've earned more than quota--the permanent trust of your buyer, and a new friend from the partner company.

This will happen more and more. It will be necessary eventually.

With literally thousands of data products on the market, they will become more and more specialized. And thus less and less of a complete solution to anything!

Check out the most recent "data tooling landscape" from Matt Turk:


Wisedom from the partnership trenches

Ian Parker, an account executive from Fivetran, has seen a lot of success in co-selling with partners. 

In the tech landscape we (Fivetran) operate in, there is no single "silver bullet" solution that really gets it done; working with partners is key to success. We simply don't win alone, we never have. Working with partners creates different entry-angles into deals, and also helps the deal size increase since there is a deeper knowledge & ability to service the prospects goals.

Think about his two results:

  1. He can get and close deals that otherwise wouldn't
  2. He gets access to bigger deals already underway


Simon Murillo runs the partner relationship between Sigma Computing and Snowflake. This has been a fruitful partnership, and he's learned a lot from doing it. 

Simon was gracious enough to share some of this thoughts. Read on, and I'll come back after with some ideas on getting your co-selling relationships going. 🤓

Partnerships are essential to business. As a Field Alliance Manager at Sigma Computing, I know the value of partnering and co-selling - it is a key component to the initiatives I lead. Through my time at Sigma Computing, I’ve come to value three key aspects of partnerships that bring success to our team and our partners
  1. Reciprocity
  2. Patience
  3. Trust
As a partner manager, an underlying principle you must operate in is reciprocity. The first step to a successful partnership is understanding your partner's objectives and how you can support them in achieving their goals efficiently.  To create a win-win situation for those involved, work with partners like you would a prospect in a sales-cycle. 
Patience is a virtue, and that is definitely true when working with partners. Developing fruitful partnerships does not happen overnight. In fact, it will take time to develop. If done correctly, the wait is worth the time and the value you will be able to add to your organization. It’s most certainly a game of chess, not checkers. 
To speed up the process, learn how to answer: “What are my partner’s goals, where can I create value, and how can I get them to where they want to be in the quickest way possible?” Understanding your partner's goals will remove noise and establish credibility. 
The faster you can answer those questions, the sooner you will have a mutually valuable partnership and trust will start to be built.
Trust enables the partnership to move forward, grow, and become a two way street, where both partners are benefiting. How do I build trust? I focus on bringing valuable information to my partners attention, stay focused on their goals alongside mine, and follow through. 
The benefits of partnerships are endless. We operate in a world where not a single business or person, only uses a single piece of technology to accomplish their goals. So let’s lean into each other, understand how we complement one another, and create partnerships.

How to develop co-selling relationships

Find some buddies

Identify products or services that are complimentary to yours. If you are in a large organization, these are probably already identified. Then identify who sells into your same territory, size of company, industry, etc. 

I've found that reaching out on LinkedIn is easy. 99% of the people I've asked have agreed to have a video intro call.

Bring way more value than you think necessary

If you can bring deals to the table, you create a desire to reciprocate.

I honestly wish I could do this better. But Datateer does not have the deal volume that most of our partners have.

So I have to find ways to be extremely valuable. And it always pays off (when I do it right)

"If you would take, you must first give. This is the beginning of intelligence" ~ Lao Tzu 🧠

I dunno if it made me any smarter, but giving first does is indeed the right thing to do. Here's what that looks like for me:

  • Giving my time away for free to consult or educate prospects and customers. Even if there is no opportunity for Datateer!
  • I write up entire articles and pitch them to the marketing teams--not asking for a lot of their time in planning sessions
  • My marketing team has to be willing to carry more than a "fair share" to get content produced and distributed.
  • I lose time developing ideas that ultimately don't go anywhere

Even more value: know next steps

The worst way to end a 📞 call is "Okay, well, reach out anytime"

Actually, it's pleasant in the moment. But I've had almost 100 calls where I didn't have a clear plan going in how I could help.

And so they ended pleasantly, but the relationship did not progress. 🛑 😢

I learned a lot from Cole Tilley, Account Executive at Matillion. Towards the end of our first meeting, he said something like:

 "Okay, here are some things we could try that have worked for me before: 1. let's get on Crossbeam and share prospects 2. let's compare industries of our top prospects and 3. let's run a joint campaign with the BDR team. Which of those sounds best for you for a next step?

Classic, it's almost like he was using his sales experience to build a relationship with me.

Lift each other up

This is another action that will look different for you than it does for me.

👍 After co-selling a deal, I was talking with our shared buyer. "<My co-seller> genuinely cares. I was impressed at the time she put in behind the scenes on this deal. I think you can rely on her in the future too."

It's the kind of thing that can feel cheesy to say. But it was sincere, and well received.

💪 Several times I've called someone's manager to tell them how grateful I was for the partnership, and how helpful my partner was on a recent, specific deal.

I send thank-you notes with a See's gift card to anyone who sends me a referral. Even if the deal wasn't qualified and didn't go anywhere.

Simple things that are not expected or necessary. But they go a long way.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ~ Jesus


🧺 My dirty laundry about co-selling and partnerships

You'll know something about me that only my closest partners know: I'm terrible at maintaining partner relationships.

I'm serious. I've been an engineer most of my career. I'm an introvert. I'm undisciplined and procrastinate too often.

Some people are natural at building and maintaining relationships.

Some people are great at navigating corporate hierarchy to find their way to the perfect strategic relationship.

If you are like me, maybe you have some concerns of your own abilities to do this.

I'll tell you this: it works. As lacking as I am in talent here, even I can put together co-selling deals, bring value to my new customers, and make some friends along the way. 

I want to learn with you how to sell data products better. I want to research and write about topics you care about. Submit something here, and let's keep learning together. 

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Datateer Amplify

How Data Product Buyers Are Reacting to the Recession

Let’s examine some reactions that buyers of data products are having to the recession. Or downturn. Or uncertainty–whatever you want to call it. 🤓

👎 OK, the bad news first. You thought the bad news was going to be that everyone’s budgets dried up? No!

The bad news is that we didn’t get enough responses to the survey! 😭 But the responses we did receive are valuable. That’s good news! 

So I cannot break things down for you by company size, geography, and industry. I was able to observe some patterns.

Overall there is some good stuff in here. Treat it as anecdotal 🧂 I hope it is helpful. 

(I did get some survey responses with answers like “jpsdfaskejks” and “ur mom” – let’s discard those, as they won’t be quite as useful)

Plus, I talked with many of you to learn what you are seeing from interactions with customers and prospects. Although second hand, it was enlightening. This info augmented ✅ what I gathered from the survey. 

Ready? Let’s get into it 

Summary, key takeaways

  • More scrutiny is leading to longer deal cycles
  • Headcount is shrinking or maintaining
  • Most budgets are staying flat, not shrinking
  • Bye-bye exploratory efforts or non-specific ROI

Contents

Core budget is staying the same
Switching is active!
More scrutiny
Deal cycle is lengthening
CFOs, controllers, COOs getting more involved
Headcounts shrinking or staying the same
Tighter priorities
Marketing and customer acquisition

💡 If you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter!

Let me know what you want to hear more about, to better sell and serve data product buyers


Core budget is staying the same

No one in the survey chose the option that budgets are increasing greatly (more than 20%). 

This is not surprising, and confirms what we all suspected. 🥱

However, core budget is staying mostly the same, as reported by the survey participants. 

This bodes well for renewals, but not for increasing NRR or more new deals. 

Switching is active!

I assumed everyone would just hunker down with their current vendors, or ask for 💸 price concessions 😨. This is happening generally, but there is an active contingent that is looking to switch one or two products.

Buyers will likely be more direct with you about where they are entrenching, and which products are up for review. You can spend more time where the opportunity is there.

If you have a product priced lower than the competition, now is the time to strike. 

However, I suggest a more nuanced approach than a race to the bottom from oversized discounts.

If a competitor's product is implemented differently than what the vendor intended, it can result in costs being too high. So even though the pricing as designed is reasonable (or cheaper than your product), the TCO might be painfully high. 

Now, what they could do is revisit the implementation and their use case and see if the situation can be salvaged. But from my experience in this situation, the root cause matters much less than you might think. 

What matters to the buyer is the emotional response of costs being way too high, and the pressure the buyer is feeling from management to get things under control.

More scrutiny

Most people report deals are subject to more scrutiny than before. Everyone’s boss, grandboss, and great-grandboss is looking over everyone’s shoulder more than before. 

This makes sense to me because no one wants to be singled out as the person who wasn’t careful enough.

So you may have more hops up the chain to approve a deal, which takes more time. (This also leads to a couple more observations: deal cycle lengthening and CFOs getting involved. More below)

The higher you have to go up the chain, the less people care about the details and features of your product. Demos aren’t going to help here. 

The higher you go up the chain, the more aware you must be of strategic priorities and constraints that those individuals might be facing. More scruitiny = more effort and prep for you.

Deal cycle is lengthening

This is another obvious assumption that the research confirms.

I don’t know how much longer deal cycles have become. You probably see it in the form of missed targets and more delays. 

I suspect this is from a combination of general hesitancy and more scrutiny. In any case, close dates will probably be pushed out.

CFOs, controllers, COOs getting more involved

Finance folks are involved in almost every deal now. Buyers feel they must get a review by someone in finance (or sometimes operations). 

Not many companies have put in more restrictive pricing thresholds than before. But buyers feel the need to pull in finance folks for deal reviews. Whether mandated or just implied, it is happening. 

So you need to be able to speak to them on their terms.

From my experience, these people couldn’t care less about the features of your product. Sometimes they will sit in a demo, but that isn’t going to make or break their decision. 

Your champion or buyer will vouch for the effectiveness of your product. That is enough for them from that angle.

To approve, the finance folks need either 

  1. a spreadsheet staring them in the face that your solution will favorably affect costs. This is usually about price. But in some cases other terms–like a monthly pricing option–could be appealing to them.
  2. a strong narrative that the increased capability justifies your cost. This narrative is 100 times more effective coming from your champion or buyer, rather than from you.

Headcounts shrinking or staying the same

Hiring is slowing or shrinking. Nothing surprising here, and the research confirms it.

But the amount of work to be done is not shrinking, so perhaps there is opportunity here.

Some of our customers are backed by private equity groups. These PE firms recognize that, generally, a data-driven company has a much higher resale value than otherwise.

Do you have a product that will allow your customer to do more with data, with fewer people? This will touch on an emerging pain point as layoffs and hiring freezes are becoming common.

Tighter priorities

People have not abandoned hope or slowed down, or anything like that. But they are a lot more focused than before. 

Their roadmaps of what they want to accomplish are relatively unchanged. They are honing in and spending more time on their top priorities. They are more clear about what they want. And putting some of my own interpretation on it, I see them actually being more aggressive about these refined, tighter priorities. 

On the flip side, they are almost ignoring the less important things.

This means that nothing speculative will fly. R&D efforts, exploratory efforts–they’ve all been deferred. 

It means that you must focus on a business case that matters to the buyer. Something that will product measurable results in 1-2 quarters.

“Efficiencies” is too general. “Data democratization” is too general. “Data literacy” or “data-driven” are too general.

Marketing and customer acquisition

The data we gathered shows data product buyers are subject to the general business trends during a recession. Some companies cut way back on marketing and advertising, some go more aggressive.

This translates into some data teams being more focused than before on more efficient marketing and advertising, such as customer 360 and data activation into sales-oriented systems.


I hope you found this useful! My perspective is that things are changing, but the waters are still navigable. 

If you want to drill into any specific topics, remember that this newsletter is for you! Sign up or request a topic.

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Understand B2B buying behavior in a downturn, and how to react

In an economic recession, weaknesses get exposed. We get nervous, and buyers can recognize a desperate seller miles away. 🦨👃

In this inaugural edition of Datateer Amplify, let’s talk about some proven tactics to navigate safely.

💡 If you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter

Let me know what you want to hear more about, to better sell and serve data product buyers


Behavior in Recent Recessions

Recessions are funny. If we all kept our business activity normal, there would be no recession. But the apprehension of a downturn causes some businesses to pump the brakes, causing a sharper downturn, causing more people to limit spending.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy!

It reminds me of game theory, where everyone is worried about what the other players will do. My success depends not on a clear-cut right answer, but how my strategy stacks up relative to everyone else’s.

Budgets

Everyone will start to refer to budgets, and budgets being cut. Yet businesses must continue to spend money. 

How do you ensure you are part of the continued spend?

CFOs everywhere are negotiating with heads of other departments. Some will lay down a blanket “x% decrease to everyone’s budget,” and department heads will have to find ways to cut budgets.

Some will be more surgical, looking to cut unnecessary line items, reduce spending commitments on others, and look for more favorable payments terms to stretch cash.

Notice there is no certainty here. No one has a crystal ball about the “right way” to trim budgets without cutting too much.

📃 How do you make sure you are on the list?

This uncertainty is where opportunity lies to champion and justify the ROI of your product.

4 types of buyer postures

Businesses don’t buy things, people buy things. So when considering buyers, it’s helpful to understand

  1. the company’s budget posture
  2. your buyer or champion’s level of enthusiasm
  3. the decision-making committee’s attitude

What is that last one? Committee you say? 🤼

Every material buying decision is now handled by committee. Don't believe me? Often it isn’t formalized, but you will see buyers conferring with other trusted sources well before committing. 

No one is making a decision in a vacuum.

HBR has a great framework that we can apply to B2B buyers in a recession.

When considering each of these levels in the framework, there are 4 different postures they might take. Remember, these are psychological attitudes, not always aligned with "reality" or what your info might say about the company:

  1. 🛑 Slam on the Brakes. These feel most vulnerable and stand to lose the most financially. They will aggressively reduce
  2. 💪 Pained but Patient. Tend to be optimistic in the long term but feel they can’t control the current situation. They tend to cut broadly, but not as aggressively.
  3. 🤑 Comfortably Well Off. These feel secure in their ability to ride things out, and are less than 5%. They will continue with existing purchase behavior and will attempt to win large concessions for any new purchase
  4. 🤔 Live for Today. These are rare among B2B buyers. They slow down new major purchases but will continue with existing purchase behavior.

4 categories of product

Each of the 4 types of buyers will be mentally bucketing each of their expenditures.

This rarely formally done, but everyone does it. You most likely do it yourself.

  1. Essentials. Necessary for survival and ongoing operations
  2. Treats. Smaller purchases that are exploratory
  3. Postponables. Needed items but that can be put off
  4. Expendables. Unnecessary, or ROI is hard to see

With each prospect, consider 1) their buying posture and 2) how they perceive your product. Evaluate these for all three levels--company, committee, and your champion

This is crucial, because it informs your tactics.

Knowing where your buyer lands will help you approach the situation with empathy, which is the number one most important skill in selling.

Tactics

Be more present yet less annoying

Fight the feeling of desperation when your quarter end is coming up and prospects have obviously slowed down.

Being more top of mind is necessary, but constant “hey just checking in” emails will not end well.

Research from Trustradius says almost 100% of buyers prefer to self-serve in the sales process.

Rather than “check in,” share valuable information with each touchpoint. Then maybe your messages will be a welcome sight.

What to share? Here are the top answers from a recent survey.

Think about any and all sales aids you have that fit in these categories, and share something appropriate with them at each touchpoint.

Specific pain over general outcomes

In the Covid recovery, overspending was rampant. The bounce-back spike is obvious, but check out the following quarters. They are really high too!

During those high-spending times, it’s easier to close deals that may have unclear ROI.

Did you get used to easier closes, or even develop some lazy habits?

Avoid generalities that imply ROI, such as “data-driven” or “democratize your data”

Don't ask only about budgets, ask about how budget tightening is affecting your buyer’s top priorities. This is a meaty question that will open up plenty of follow up questions.

Likely you will find at least one priority that your product aligns really well with. Latch onto it, and tie all spend justification to their strategic priorities.

Help them craft the story that your product is required for success in their top priority.

Lower entry points, flexibility in terms

What is in between a trial of your product and the big annual purchase?

If nothing, then you will be looking at a lot of requests to extend trials.

Can you get pre-commitments in exchange for an extended trial?

Can you present a growth plan where they can get beyond the trial, and expand usage as ROI is proven?

Can they start in a single department or with a smaller number of users?

Can you present a spending plan where they spend low during a period and increase spend afterwards?

These ideas are not new of course, but leaning on them will help get to yes. They will help your buyer feel confident that your empathy remains strong, and that you are reducing their risk.

Putting all of the above into practice: have a strategy to target buyers more tightly, and focus on specific problems that your product solves (not generalities). Be aware of the different buying postures, and how they may respond differently to your product in a recession. Create different entry points and offer flexibility in terms to help buyers feel more confident in making a purchase. Finally, be sure to provide value in each communication with buyers, and focus on their individual, specific priorities when discussing ROI.

References

https://www.trustradius.com/vendor-blog/2022-b2b-buying-disconnect-the-age-of-the-self-serve-buyer

https://hbr.org/2009/04/how-to-market-in-a-downturn-2

https://www.bain.com/insights/the-new-recession-playbook/

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/05/recession

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2021/06/16/is-empathy-the-most-important-selling-skill/?sh=5210e1cb1505

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/28/business/economy/gdp-q2-economy.html

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