Buying choices are personal and emotional choices. It’s easy for most of us to see how that applies to the personal consumer purchases we make every day, but it also applies in a B2B purchase scenario. Ultimately, even large B2B “committee” decisions boil down to personal choices based on emotional perceptions. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that buying decisions are made based on silly, “we-like-you-better” kinds of emotions. What I am saying is that each individual in a buying decision makes their decision (or casts their vote) based on the value they perceive the solution will provide to them both professionally and personally. And value perceived is an emotional reaction. The question is whether or not the sales team understands what each individual buyer actually cares about.
The best sales people ensure they know not only who the decision players are, but they take the time to understand what business metrics and personal motivators each decision player cares about. They get to know the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) each decision player is held accountable for or is compensated on, and they know how those KPIs impact the larger business. Understanding how the business calculates and measures each KPI, or even understanding what KPIs are relevant to a given business is a critical sales skill.
In my experience, industry or business segment KPI information available to sales teams totally misses the mark. It is either way too much, way too little, or presented in such a way as to be confusing and mind-numbing. As sales leaders we need to find ways to help our sales team research and learn the most common KPIs by business type, how they are calculated, and who cares about them in order to help them understand their customer’s business “good enough”. How do you help your sales team members learn new business segment and industry KPIs?