Let me say first that I’m not anti-sales. I’ve been on both sides of the table—marketing and sales. I understand the pressures both positions come with, and I believe both must work together if a company is going to be consistently grow revenue—the lifeblood of any business.
That being said, there are some unique characteristics that case studies can bring to the sales process. These characteristics can help salespeople overcome an often jaded and defensive target. The consumer—whether a business or individual—is more empowered today than they have ever been. Salespeople who will succeed in an environment where even a qualified prospect is looking for a reason to take you “out of the game,” might do well to reconsider the role case studies play in the sales cycle.
- Case Studies tell a story. Salespeople desire a transaction.
- Case Studies empower the prospect. Salespeople want to qualify or disqualify the prospect.
- Case Studies are perceived to be objective. Salespeople are not.
- Case Studies capture the voice of the prospect’s peer. Salespeople speak in the voice of the company.
- Case Studies provide evidence of success. Salespeople focus on closing the deal.
When salespeople recognize the value of a case study and modify their approach, they’ll find that case studies will:
- Validate whether or not what you’re selling is what the prospect needs.
- Shorten the sales cycle by building trust and permission in a non-confrontational way.
- Increase the confidence of the prospect in your abilit to meet their needs.
The salesperson with the ability to facilitate a buying experience that informs the prospect and challenges their assumptions with new ideas will be the ones who get to “the close” sooner, faster, and with a much more satisfied client.
How have you used case studies to help your sales team overcome common roadblocks in your selling cycle?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.