The Rational Drowning – relevant numbers move minds

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The third step in the commercial teaching model laid out by CEB is about leveraging numbers to move client’s minds. Numbers have always been important in business cases but the number game is different. Clients don’t lack data but love to find more relevant and more actionable numbers to build their decisions around.

Your clients’ new reality

In the new data driven world clients need numbers to back up their investment cases. The implementation options they recommend need to meet selection criteria defined by solid numbers.

Classic TCO models required a stable foundation in the form of solid revenues to be relevant. This a rare reality for most businesses today. This makes classic parameters of less value and triggers a search for new ones.

The search for new parameters and high quality data points is a multi-facetted challenge. First find good parameters, second build great models and finally find numbers to use.

Leverage numbers to win client mindshare

As a sales challenger you have the opportunity to increase your influence the process with numbers. New parameters your client has not been using up to date. Parameters coming in play for the solution you plan to promote.

The best stories and insights you can deliver to your clients come with the 0-9 keys on the top of your key board. Without a number a marketing statement or claim becomes empty.

Offer a larger pool of numbers to find resonating ones

The perhaps most difficult part to define are the parameters in play for your opportunity. Explore a larger pool of parameters in the early stages and listen for the ones making most sense to your client.

By offering many rational parameters you signal you are business focused and have done your research. Leading indicators allowing you to predict future business outcomes have the highest value. The art of finding relevant lead measures for a given opportunity is a real test.

Any business development activity in a new area should include exploring the underlying parameters.  The critical foundation for your business opportunity. Expect this to be a tedious job requiring a lot of efforts where lead time rather than work time generate results.

Ones you have defined a set of suitable parameters you need to find credible data points. A good number challenge your client’s current thinking. A good number also inspire your client to take actions now. There are no trends or TLAs in the world that can achieve the same impact as a great business parameter and a creative number to it.

Numbers drive follow-up sessions

By putting stakes in the ground around specific numbers you trigger thought processes. You don’t want your clients to agree to all your numbers from start. You want the numbers to trigger ideas. Your want to come back to discuss and refine both parameters and numbers. This part of the pursuit define the value you deliver as a challenger sales professional.

Questions for you and your team

  1. What are the super set of business parameters in play for the opportunity at hand – look broad from start.
  2. Which parameters have a business outcome correlation – what your clients ultimately look for.
  3. Which parameters can you back up with crisp and credible numbers – the numbers need to be clear and credible.
  4. Do you have exciting enough numbers to move your clients mind – just stating common knowledge wisdoms is not enough.
  5. What are the three most relevant numbers to focus your marketing around – you want flagship numbers lifting your story.
  6. Which parameters define how fast your business can grow – of critical interest to both you and your client.

Suggested additional reading 

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