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

Episode · 2 months ago

Influencing Your Customers’ Solution Requirements

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Solution requirements are a critical component of every deal you sell. These are things that must be in place in order for a buyer to achieve their desired outcomes, and they exist with or without your solution. In today’s episode, John Kaplan explains the importance of recognizing your customer’s solution requirements and what to do with that knowledge. You will learn how to:

Bridge the customer’s current state to their desired future state.

Position your value in a way that influences the customer’s requirements.

Ask great discovery questions that show your customer how your solution is needed to solve their business issues.

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

You need to understand what that differentiation does for your customer. Why is it good for them, and so what if they don't have it? What problems come up? And that makes it really easy for you to come up with your discovery questions. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster. will feature sales leaders sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team atforce management, a leader in B two B sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Clip Miller and I want to start by letting everyone know that our new ascender platform has launched content curriculum community. You can sign up at a center DOT Co. We are publishing content just for sales reps there every day, Monday through Friday. Um, I have quite a pipeline of...

...content, so I hope you come check it out, come find us. You can even spot our own John Kaplan there too. Hi John, Rachel. It's a great day to be an ascendor. It is. It is okay. So, John, today let's focus on a critical component of every deal you sell. Um, we talk about, you know, key buckets you need to fill up as a as a Rep. but when we talk about critical buckets, the solution requirements are required. keepabit abilities are one that are really important. These are things that the customer needs to achieve the business outcomes they are looking for. They are must have requirements that exist with or without your solution, and we're going to dive in on those today. Yeah, I mean you often hear me talk about attaching to the biggest business issue facing the customer, and that is a, Um, a critical skill. And then you hear me talking about, you know, influencing decision criteria or...

...solution requirements. So connecting those two together are really really critical. So you can think of solution requirements, UM, in terms of like current state and future state. So they're what is required to get the customer for where from where they are now from where they want to go, and your job as a seller is to create that bridge for them and align it to your own value and the differentiation you bring to the table. So it's a really, really critical, critical skill. We're gonna dig into it here a little bit. Yeah, we often stage on that you have to be able to influence these requirements, and that's what you're talking about with that alignment to the value and differentiation you bring to your table. It's about positioning what you bring in a way that influences those requirements exactly. There's an old saying out there that says wherever you are, there you go. So whatever comes to you by...

...way of solution requirements, you have to be audible, ready and prepared to influence those. You know, at the end of the day, I have to make sure that those solution requirement requirements are more favorable for me and my company and if they aren't, I have to be ready, through discovery and trap setting, to influence them in a way that's aligned to my solution. So I'm asking them why a specific requirement is important. How does it drive to the outcomes? I'm also asking them, meaning them, the customer, about gaps in their requirements. So if there's something that's not in there that should be in there, UM, I have to get that in there. I have to find a way to get it in there. So I just, you know, relate it to their outcomes. Uh, and I do that in a way that makes it more favorable for them. Yeah, the other credit call component here Um, and something that really probably, I would...

...say, differentiates great sellers from elite sellers, is to really under the understanding that those lists of requirements can always be evolving. Once you validate them at one point, they can change. Customers change their mind, a competitor may drop in and influence them, business priorities might shift. So we need to be constantly validating them. Yeah, I mean they're they're really the gold. He or she who owns the decision requirements that require capabilities the solution, capabilities to all three of those that are, you know, interchangeable. He or she who owns those really owns the opportunity and I think sometimes people make this a little bit more complicated. So I always think about it like, you know, what are my critical differentiators in every sales meeting and every conversation that I'm going to have, and the first thing I say to myself is, what are my differentiators that I want to highlight in this conversation? How am...

I going to get those different to get that differentiation into the conversation? And then I think about a series of discovery questions which are, you know, intended to trap my competition around that differentiator. So so my goal is, through a series of questions, I get the customer to see that they need that differentiation and that it's critical to get that business outcome that they're trying to achieve. So therefore it just becomes a natural part of the solution requirements or the require capability. So again, first I think about the my differentiation and then I take a look at the decision criteria, the solution requirements, and I gotta make a decision that says, how am I going to get these differentiators into those decisions criteria and make it the customer's idea. It's all about discovery. It's all all about understanding your differentiation and then asking great discovery questions...

...which make the customer highlight some of the challenges and the problems of not having that differentiation. So it becomes a Um, an automatic conclusion by the customer that they say, but of course I need that differentiation. Your crux move is then saying okay, so can we call that a required capability? And the customer says yes. So don't overcomplicate it, right. We always say Um, when you think about your differentiation, it only matters if it's important to the buyer. Those traits of your solution that make you different Um and better than the competition are only important if the buyer cares about them. So this crux move that you're talking about, John, and aligning into the required capabilities is just really helping the customer understand that if they want to achieve these outcomes, they need these these this is a list of what's required to get...

...it there. If you want to achieve a, you need to do be and B has my differentiation in it. Yeah, one last thing on this, Rachel. I think it's really really you just brought up a great point and said that the differentiator has to have value to the customer, and I remember scenario one time where I was competing and I totally smoked my competition. I blew him away in the validation event and we were selling software to a customer and and in the end the economic buyer came back and said, Um, Mr Kapam, we have a problem, and I said well, what, what's the what's the problem? And he said that your screen is blue, and I almost started chuckling, Rachel. I was like, okay, wait a second, he's not smiling. So let me just think about this for a second. Yes, indeed, my screen is blue and the interface that the competitor was using, which the which the users were using for, you know, twenty years, was green. And then I thought about it. Thank God, I caught myself and I thought, so what? So...

...what if it's a blue screen or green screen, what does that have to do with differentiation? Like bidirectional associativity, which means a change made anywhere was reflected everywhere. What is that going to do? By you know, what I'm proposing is drastically reducing the time to market by a minimum of and so I caught myself and I had to ask myself the question, what does that have to do? What value does that add for the customer? And I'll never forget that, Rachel. Differentiation has to bring value to the customer. It doesn't, it's not different. It's not a differentiator just because it's different. And it was a really, really great learning experience for me. So when you're out there and we're telling you you wake up in the morning and you've got to understand your differentiation, you need to understand what that differentiation does for your customer. Why is it good for them, and so what if they don't have it? What problems come up? And that makes it really...

...easy for you to come up with your discovery questions. Just ask questions about scenarios of those problems, of those challenges, and that's how you do it. Thanks for reminding me. Yeah, yeah, and getting them into the required capabilities or solution requirements are, is that crux move that you're talking about, and those requirements are just one of those critical buckets that you need to fill up before you really Um talk about yourself or demonstrate how you do it, what your solution is going to bring to them. Oh, really good, really good. I like how you set that up. So let's talk about your mentality. Has Always got to be outside in. You first have to understand the wants, needs and challenges of your customer before you make it about yourself. It's as old as dirt. It's Egypt old. I like to think about these as buckets. Like think about when you have a conversation with a customer, you're getting on the one with them, you're having a...

...meeting with them. You write down on a piece of paper you have three buckets that you have to fill up before you earn the right to pivot and talk about yourself or talk about your solution. Those are things like positive business outcomes or the outcomes the business implications that they're trying to achieve. We talked about attaching to the biggest business issue. You've got to understand that. And if I don't have those things, bad things will happen because there'll be no urgency. If I'm not attached to a business outcome, there will be more urgency. I'm more likely to be, you know, thrown in with a group of other competitors. It's harder to differentiate. The next thing, the next bucket that I have to have, is I have to understand the solution requirements, and we just talked about not only have to understand the Solution Corp requirements, but they have to be favorable for the customer and they have to be favorable for us, and that's where we get our differentiation involved. And then the third thing is I have to understand how they're going to measure success.

So the three buckets are positive business outcomes, the solution requirements and then the metrics or how the customers going to measure success. Once I fill up those buckets, I've earned the right to make it all about myself and then I can talk about how I do those things, maybe how I do them differently or better than the competition. And of course, you know where I might have done it before. But that's all about me. I have to earn the right. A lot of sellers get it turned around, Rachel. You know they're picking up the phone, they're talking about hey, have you heard of us? Here's what we do. Stop me when you hear something you like. It's as old as dirt. It's Egypt old. First make it about them before you earn the right to make it about you. That's a great wrap up, John, but I'm wondering if you have another bottom line. You can talk a dog off ofth of me. Back and Rachel, and since you asked me to put pare for a bottom line, and...

I'm like, well, that was good. Yeah, it's not bad. Huh? Not Bad? Way To be audible ready, all right, let's do let's do one. Let's do one. So when I think about a bottom line, you know, require capabilities of the gold for salespeople. You gotta wake up every morning and you've got to say I need to own those. Require capabilities and they've got to be favorable for me. So it's it's it's not just about, you know, gathering requirements. It's not being a note taker. Uh, there's a saying that says, you know, I don't need you to be Um, I don't need you to be a weather person, I need you to be a journalist. And I think you might have taught me that one because you're a former journalist and I really, really like that. So you've got to be prepared to not only gather those require capabilities, but you have to be influencing them with your decision criteria. So you've got to think about getting your differentiation and place. You wake up in...

...the morning, swing your legs over the side of the bed and say, what is my difference that I'm going to influence into conversations today, plan for with great discovery questions. The best way to do that is think about, all right, let me think about that differentiator. What does it mean to the customer? So what if they don't have it? Okay, it causes this problem, it causes that problem, it causes this problem. Just ask a series of discovery questions about those problems you just thought about and then everything will fall into place. The last thing you do is you get the customer to say okay. So it sounds like that's pretty important for you to have. Do you mind if we just call that a required capability, and that's what the most elite sellers do. You'll win every time. All right. Thank you, John. You got it. Thank you to all of you for continuing to listen to the audible ready sales podcast. If you like this content, this is the same type of content that we are publishing in the ascender platform, so be sure to check out ASCENDOR DOT COM. 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 MANAGEMENT DOT com. 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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