Gartner research has shown that B2B buyers typically spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers during the purchase process. As Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President at Gartner, wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “that dramatically small window of direct interaction represents the single biggest challenge sales teams face today: an overall lack of access — and therefore lack of opportunity — to materially impact purchase deliberations and bend customer preference toward a company’s unique offering.”
For selling analytics and big data solutions, your team has no time to waste – which is why account intelligence makes the difference. With the right intelligence, sellers don’t waste time asking basic questions about the business or the tech stack; they don’t throw away hours on presentations and demos that miss the mark; and they don’t get blocked by procurement surprises after months of work. In other words, good intelligence ensures you get the most from limited buyer facetime because you have detailed information about who is participating in the sales process, the priorities that drive them, and what they want from a data analytics vendor.
Make Selling Analytics Easier for Everyone with the Right Account Intelligence
Your sales team has so little time to make a good impression, so give yourself the biggest advantage you can with effective account planning. To get started, check out this tip sheet for a good reminder of what you need to know and how to turn heads in your direction:
5 Things You Should Know About Your Target Account Before You Try Selling IT Data & Analytics Solutions:
Understand What the Account is Trying to Accomplish and How They Like to Go About It
A recent Emissary research survey of B2B buyers found that in 77% of purchases, they were more likely to go with a supplier who understood the specific problems they were trying to solve. And in 66% of purchases, they preferred a seller who understood the company’s culture and demonstrated the ability to work within it.
To influence buyers toward your solution, you need to understand the account’s goals and how they typically solve problems. With that insight, you can intelligently discuss business and technical challenges in the buyers’ language, connect technical capabilities to business outcomes, and provide the thought leadership that makes it easy for buyers to choose your offering.
For example, if a target account needs better supply chain resilience or wants to expand omnichannel sales, make it clear how real-time data streaming and event processing helps them get there. Or if they’re developing analytics capabilities in silos, how can your solution help them aggregate broad data sources into new and meaningful content?
When you start with a comprehensive grasp of the account’s current situation, you can use your time with them to uncover other areas where the account is data rich but insight poor and explain how analytics can help, such as analyzing digital consumer interactions for behavior-based fraud prevention models.
Chart the Technical Ecosystem
It’s also important to get into the technical weeds so your team can illustrate how your solution fits into an accounts’ current architecture and helps ease their way toward technology goals. In particular, determine where data is currently stored, how it’s managed, and how it’s collected and used. Pay attention to areas of inflexibility, such as legacy systems that hamper real-time performance visibility or mission-critical spaghetti code that no one is willing to touch. Use this insight to highlight how your solution helps lift buyers over these obstacles.
Other suppliers and technology partners, such as providers for data clouds, data warehouses, knowledge discovery tools, in-memory databases, and BI platforms, may influence the buying decision as well. Where possible, leverage existing partnerships and integrations with independent software vendors (ISVs) or OEMs to position your offering as an optimal fit.
Map the Power Structure
Decisions are made by people and in order reach the right ones, your team has to go beyond the org chart to understand key stakeholders, how they interact with each other, and how the company culture influences the buying process. Insight into the power structure will point you to the people you need to connect with and what they want from you.
For example, learn where major purchases originate, who’s on the buying committee, and what role each person is playing in the process. And pinpoint the people who own the ultimate decision; they may be different from those who’ll own the implementation post-sale.
Each type of decision maker will probably have different criteria for selection. The business team may require iron clad ROI analyses while IT wants to learn how well your services group works with their people on a proof of concept.
Learn the Rules of the Game
Given how complex technology purchases can be, buyers need all the support you can give them. And if you have good insight into your account’s process, you can align your interactions with it, so decision makers have exactly what they need exactly when they need it.
Keeping in mind that, by the time you engage, the buying operation is well underway. Gather intelligence about what steps buyers have already taken, what’s coming up, and how you can synchronize your efforts with theirs. For example, do they want to see a data visualization with their own customer interaction details? If so, at what point and what do they need to learn from it before they can comfortably move forward?
Good details about the purchase process can make life easier for your team, as well. Use insight about procurement, security vetting, and other formalities to look for the most effective ways to meet requirements and the best time to engage.
Flush Out the Meaningful Competitors
You already know the competing companies you’re likely to meet when selling analytics, but inside intelligence will elucidate the hidden obstacles. Find out whether some competitors have the upper hand with an existing relationship or a valuable partnership. Determine how the buying committee views your offering versus the rest of the market.
Use your knowledge of the power structure, business objectives, and culture to determine if other barriers stand against you. Do buyers have low confidence in the reliability and shareability of their data? Do they lack the skills to implement and integrate analytics? Or could organizational aversion to change drive them toward more conservative projects? Any of these can sink your ship, but if you know the problems you face before engaging, you have a better chance at neutralizing them.
Emissary helps sellers and marketers selling big data analytics solutions with intelligence on their target accounts. Learn more.