The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

26. Maximize the Effectiveness of Proof Points w/ John Kaplan


Proof points should tell a story of how your solutions effectively solved your customer’s problems and achieved measurable results.


Elite sellers know the story behind their proof points so they can better tie them to their live opportunities in a way that’s relevant and meaningful to their prospects. Elite sales organizations have a process for gathering these proof points so their sellers can use them to drive high-value deals forward. 


In this podcast, John Kaplan walks us through:


- How to develop a process for gathering impactful proof points and who should own this role in your organization


- When and how to use proof points in the most effective way, including how to enable your champions to articulate the stories behind your proof points


- How to make proof points as relatable as possible to live opportunities and sales conversations


Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.


Here are some additional resources focused on proof points: 


Methods to Increase Sales: Nailing Your Proof Points

Successful Sales Strategies: Leverage Your Customer Testimonials

Metrics in Sales Conversations Podcast

Elite sellers know that they own proof points. Marketing can help you get them cleaned up and professional, but it's your work, your relationships, your stories which make these proof points powerful. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team afforce management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller, and today we are going to talk about proof points. John Kaplan joins me now. John, explain what we mean by proof points? Well, proof points are things like customer testimonials, case studies,...

...references, which clearly demonstrate the value of your solutions and they should tell a story of how your solution solves the business problem better than anybody else. Yeah, and we often say there's there's not a salesperson out there that doesn't have love having great proof points. A multitude case studies, customer testimonials at the ready and the key why they're so important is that they demonstrate the value and differentiation of your solutions. So salespeople, elite sales people, know how to use them effectively. Great sales organizations have a process around capturing them and using them. So let's first talk about gathering them and using them in your own sales process. It starts with making sure you know how your customer is measuring success. Yeah, it's great point. So if you're closing a deal, you should have identified in your sales process the metrics or know how your customer is going to measure success. It's difficult to say your solution had a... impact if you don't have a mechanism in place to measure that impact prior to engaging with your customer. So identifying success metrics should be a critical component of your sales conversations. And to get a good proof point you need to ensure you have client agreement on how you're measuring success. Great saying that says today's metric is tomorrow's proof point. So after you have identified the metrics, you set benchmarks and review sessions, kind of like qbrs, to ensure you're gathering the right numbers and hitting them throughout the initiative. Yeah, obviously that goes to capturing your your value of the customer, at least across all at least upset, and also gives you a great proof point to use in your next opportunity. As somebody in marketing, I know this next point all too well. It's one thing to know the proof point, it's another thing to let somebody publish published that. We've had some great proof points in the back...

...rooms here that we haven't been able to publish. But, as with anything in sales, you want to lay the groundwork early to be able to publish those proof points and to use them with future prospects. We do this a lot. We lay that groundwork early. Yeah, and just like negotiation starts at the beginning of a sales process, you can lay the groundwork for proof points at the start of your engagement. Now let the decision maker know that you'd like a publishable quote or testimonial video or something like that. When you meet the success metrics you know, it also may be a good idea to include it in the contract so you can ensure that you get exactly what you're looking for. Another thing, Rachel, as you talked about kind of marketing here. I've heard sellers before kind of the excuse department sometimes wide open when they talk about well, we don't have these proof points and we need better proof points or better marketing materials. And so I want to be very clear here on something. Elite sellers know that they own proof points. Marketing can... you get them cleaned up and profecttional, but it's your work, your relationships, your stories which make these proof points powerful. So true, because you have the relationship with the customer. They don't want, you know, Rachel and marketing calling them and saying, Hey, let me get that metric in a in a video. So now, as a salesperson, let's talk about using the proof points once you get them in command of the message. We always say you use them when you want to show proof in the how we do it part of your conversation. But as we know, there are a lot of ways to use proof points. I know in our own Dr function and force management they work really well to get somebody to take an initial meeting. How do you use them and how do you know when to use the most effectively? Yeah, it's such a great point because I think proof points are critical and they're also very versatile. So I often use proof points to gain attention and credibility and prospecting. So you need to make them relevant... the buyer. So same problems, similar industry where possible. So you don't want to be used in Cocacola. You Know Story About Coca Cola, to a bank. That might be a little problematic and you might miss the mark. I also use them throughout the campaign to build my mantra. So remember we're always building the story around the positive business outcomes, the require capabilities and the metrics and then, based on these, we then can pivot and talk about how we do it, how we do it better and proof points. Lastly, one of my favorite times to use them is when I'm writing a champion letter. After the deal is done and the solution is implemented, we should have great results. I now create the customers proof points. I love writing these letters to the EB and thanking them for allowing us to work with such great people like sally or Tom or Jennifer, whoever, and they're...

...great execution on the project that was focusing on these business problems. You know with that they were able to get the following results. Insert their proofpoint. So, as you can see, the timing and use of proof points is, at the beginning, during and the success stage of opportunities, very versatile. Yeah, and you know, you mention you want to make them as relatable as possible and sometimes you know you got to work with what you have in a sales organization and if you're calling on a new industry or that maybe you don't have a proof point, just don't look at the industry relatability. I would I also talk to our own salespeople if they ask me for a proof point in some industry that we might have worked with but we don't actually have a measurable result from, then we may back it up and look at the problem they're trying to solve, because and then we position the proof point not from it. Hey, here's somebody in your industry, but here's another...

...chief sales officer that was looking to solve this particular problem, the same problem your you're trying to solve. So you can make them relate beyond just the industry. It could be the problem to solve, the outcome they're trying to drive. Those are good places to look for the relatability of your proof points. So I love that point. Rachel. I think your spot on. I think sellers get too kind of emotionally connected to making sure that they have, you know, and their mind. Relevant proof points are just kind of related to the industry only. But I think you nailed it right there, as everything that we do in sales, what we're trying to do, is attached to the biggest business problems facing a customer. Normally the best proof points are the ones that highlight the relatable and similar business problems right and that's that's why we use them, because the customer here's their problems in the proof point or in the success that you had with somebody else. You know, we just recently had a conversation. John posted a podcast on champions versus coaches,...

...really popular topic. A lot of questions we get around them. But that topic makes me think also of proof points, because you want to make it sure you package your proof points so others can use them well and they can be critical when other people are doing the selling for you in your prospect organization. You want to make sure that a proof point tells a compelling story, that it doesn't necessarily rely on you being the one telling the story. So that is an important concept. When you see a proof point you've got to make sure that you can tell a story. Nobody wants to just hear about a brand or this brand here, this brand there. Tell me the story about what happened. And so again I want you to think about the concept of a mantra, and the best thing you can do for a champion is not only equip them with a great proof point, but enable them to tell the entire story of the value of your solution on their own, and that's...

...where the mantra comes in again. So an example. So, Mrs Champion, we discussed the positive business outcomes you are addressing with this project, and you said that these technical capabilities are required in order to achieve those outcomes, required capabilities. You also said that you would measure success this way, matricks. Let me tell you how we do that at our company, solution, our solution. Let me tell you how we do it differently or better than our competitors, our differentiator. Here are some relevant proof points, case studies, testimonials. So this that's the process that you really want to think about, and I also like to use things like what we call a champions deck, which is just a recap of the mantra and almost always the champion winds...

...up asking us for the deck, and that's usually the greatest buying sign of all. No doubt there. I think the other thing you know, you mentioned earlier about salespeople owning the proof point, but we have salespeople really need to know the story behind the proof point and be audible ready to tell it. And because you never know when it's going to be valuable, right in a conversation. And the more you understand the story and the more you're able to be audible ready to tell it, the more you can enable other people to have the same ability in their organization. Yeah, I mean if you don't know the story and if you're not fired up about the story, why should I be if I'm a customer? So I mean you got to use testimonials as a fund and and case studies, testimonials, proof points as a fundamental part of you know, your effective value based selling. So they can carry a lot of weight with your prospects. So don't waste them, make...

...them purposeful, really really understand them, leverage them at the right time to help you move an opportunity forward and eventually close a deal. And and that concept will be the gift that keeps on giving again. Today's metrics that you're working on will become tomorrow's proof points. Tomorrow's proof points will become areas of opportunity to gain new access into that customer and to other customers. So it's a critical, critical component of your skill set. Get those proof points, understand them and enable others to do the same. I think we'll leave it there. Thank you so much, John, my pleasure of a great week. Thank you. Thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point...

...of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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