From our experience, it’s not uncommon for sales leaders to emphasize the sales process template or internal organizational structure when trying to improve their sales process. But a sales process is only a framework.
What makes this framework successful is how well you understand and align the sales process to your buyer’s needs at different times in their buyer’s journey. Using a design thinking approach, this blog will help you answer key questions to guide meaningful interactions in the sales process from both marketing and sales teams.
What is Design-Thinking?
Design thinking is an approach to problem-solving that “encourages organizations to focus on the people they’re creating for, leading to human-centered products, services, and internal process” (IDEO – Design Thinking). Design thinking focuses on three essential areas:
- Empathy. Our ability to understand what the buyer is going through and to capture their mindsets, motivators, and business pains.
- Ideation. Focusing on new innovative ways to provide meaningful interactions along the buyer’s journey.
- Experimentation. Using data and learning to constantly optimize and try new ideas that add value to the customer.
The goal is to ask questions and understand your buyer's situation in order to help you come up with creative solutions or insights centered around your customer experience and their needs. Ultimately, embracing these principals will help you paint a picture and anchor the sales process in what actually matters to your customers and what’s likely to move them a long through their buyer journey.
Using Design Thinking to Map Your Customer Journey
To develop empathy, start by looking outside the scope of your product, service, or solution, and look at the entire customer experience as a whole—from the awareness stage, to research, to consideration, and conversion. Below are key activities you should think through in order to create your customer journey map.
- Think about what your customers are going through and what potential emotions they may experience as they identify a problem, define it, and start finding a solution. For example, at what stages in their journey are customer's like to be curious, confused, anxious, frustrated, or relieved.
How to Use: Use this insight to guide content and collateral that speaks to these emotions and to create value messaging in sales conversations that addresses the different stages the customer is going through on an emotional level.
- Analyze what channels your customers are interacting with throughout their journey. Are they using LinkedIn to formulate their problems based on the articles that are being shared? Do they turn to industry authoritative websites? Do they go to trade shows?
How to Use: Where your customers turn for information is key to positioning your company throughout integral turning points in the buyer’s journey. By adding value when customer's need it most, you're pushing the customers towards your brand as they seek a solution.
- What kind of content did they interact with prior to reaching out to your company? What kind of questions did they ask? What were they trying to solve? Figure out how their behavioral activities correlated to movement throughout the sales process.
How to Use: These questions are aimed at understanding the emotional triggers that resonate with the customers. It’s important to analyze this data about prospects and customers prior to having sales calls because it will help sales reps have more relevant and meaningful conversations right away.
Every organization is different. Therefore, the buyers will be different. These three steps hone in on the important questions and elements you should be analyzing in order to map your customer journey and customer experience. Your sales process should use this information and align key stages to how your buyers engage with companies to identify problems and find solutions.
As you go through these exercises, look for areas and opportunities to improve or add value to customers that pushes them towards your brand. To help you, download our free template to help you map your sales process to the b2b buyers journey.