Salespeople are very much like doctors in the sense that we (should!) diagnose before we prescribe a solution. For instance, selling a product or service to someone you’re not entirely sure needs it is comparable to your doctor handing you a prescription before taking the time to understand your symptoms entirely. Can you imagine that happening? Of course not! So it only makes sense for salespeople to know the four customer pain points that they can help identify and resolve – check them out below.
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What are Customer Pain Points?
Customer pain points are specific problems that your prospective customers are currently experiencing. Pain points are essentially problems that your prospect has, such as frustrations, obstacles, threats and inefficiencies that limit their growth or success in some way. In B2B sales, the customer pain points are even more important because b2b buyers are conscious that they have a problem and need a solution. After all, sales are all about empathising with the customer’s needs.
Four main types of Customer Pain Points
Customer pain points are as diverse as any other problem; while they’re often unique to the prospect – they usually fall into these 4 categories:
Process customer pain points
A process customer pain point indicates issues with a prospect’s business’ systems and processes. For this reason, your prospective customer may need to improve internal business processes in terms of productivity and performance.
Productivity customer pain points
For many people – not just salespeople! – time is money. That’s why prospective customers who deeply value their time over everything else are often experiencing the challenge or inability to perform certain activities. More likely, though, is that they’ve spent too much time using their current solution (your competitor) that doesn’t optimise their processes in a valuable way. For this reason, prospects may be dealing with challenges such as productivity, comfort and convenience.
Support customer pain points
Nothing ruins a deal more for prospective customers than when they receive an impersonal support experience. So much so that, after more than one bad experience, 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor. That’s why salespeople need to be aware of the support customer’s pain point, which is not receiving support after purchase because a customer’s experience with you doesn’t just end when the deal does.
Financial customer pain points
Like many customers, your prospects know that they pay too much for their current solution provider and need to reduce their expenditure. However, this is a thin line to walk on because having the lowest price isn’t a recommended strategy. In the words of Seth Godin, “The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.” So ensure you have a key differentiator to set you apart from the competition if you choose to lower your prices.
How to identify Customer Pain Points
Now you understand customer pain points and their variations – you can start to identify your prospective customers. Often, you’ll find that a lot of your prospective customers are facing similar challenges, and therefore similar pain points. However, the cause of these pain points can be diverse – so keep reading to learn how to accurately identify your customer’s pain points:
1. Ask questions to uncover Customer Pain Points
Similar to what a doctor or mechanic would use before writing a prescription or estimate – it’s critical to ask prospective customers these questions to analyse their needs (and pain points) quickly to be able to provide them with a valuable solution:
- “What challenges are you facing?”
- “What have you tried to overcome those challenges? Did it work? How long for?”
- “What would success look like?”
- “What are your short-term and long-term goals?”
- “What are your buying and success criteria?”
- “What do you perceive as your greatest strength? Weakness?”
- “What are you hoping to accomplish in the next year?”
- “What’s the ideal outcome?”
- “How does your company evaluate the potential of new products or services?”
- “Where would you put the emphasis regarding price, quality, and service?”
Eager to know more? You can read the full article here: 10 Sales Needs Analysis Questions You Should Always Ask Prospects
2. Conduct qualitative customer research
One of the best ways to learn prospective customers’ challenges is one of the easiest – listening to them. Which naturally involves being open to your customers and hearing their experience, no matter how honest. All salespeople must do this because customer feedback is the holy grail of unique insights about your service and enables you to measure customer satisfaction. In turn, you learn about customer behaviour changes and can identify areas that need immediate improvement. Don’t make the disastrous mistake of dominating the conversation – because the result is talking yourself out of the sale.
3. Conduct qualitative sales research
As a sales rep, you’re upfront and personal with the voice of the customer. This means that you can determine which complaints need to be prioritised and why – you need to filter out the noise and find the source of the issue.
4. Align sales and marketing data
Both the sales and marketing teams must work in close alignment to create valuable customer data, produce unique insights, and most importantly? Create meaningful, long-standing relationships with customers. To gain accurate insight and develop detailed assessments of your sales enablement process, you’ll need to gather a substantial amount of data. The minimum recommended amount is around a week’s worth; that way, you can determine how well your team performs. However, it’s worth noting that a more organized method is to conduct these monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
Read more about Sales KPIs here: What Every Sales Leader Needs To Track
How to resolve common Customer Pain Points
Now you’ve identified your prospective customer’s pain points; you need to be genuinely committed to improving their experience. You can start this by prioritizing each customer pain point by the level of discomfort and associated losses and then gather a dedicated team to work on eradicating each one from the top down. However, there are some aspects you need to consider when doing so:
1. Be transparent
The quickest way to build trust? Be honest and transparent with your reasoning for why things, products or services are priced a certain way, why you can’t give a discount or why it won’t do what they want it to. Even if it looks “bad” on you, this creates trust with your customers. However, try to find some common ground if they’re still keen to use your solution, after all win-win negotiations are most favourable.
2. Use proof devices
The great thing about proof devices is that it’s your actual customers telling the story of how your solution solved their problem. Prospects are more likely to agree to the deal if they’ve seen other people benefit from your solution – mainly if you use a proof device that addresses their current pain point. Types of proof devices you could use to achieve this include:
- List of clients
- Photos of the successful implementation of your product
- Case studies
- Articles in trade magazines
- Consumer reports
3. Study your competitors
Your competition is helping you, and they don’t even know it. Perhaps you’re thinking, “What do you mean they’re helping me? They’re trying to put me out of business!” Well, here’s some good news. Your competitors post information on their websites about their history, products, services, terms and conditions, delivering information, price packages, frequently asked questions – and sometimes even their suppliers or partners. Your competitors are doing this to try to inform their customers. But this information is available to you as well.
So how can you learn from competitors about how they’re solving customers pain points, well here are some questions worth asking:
- What do they do very well?
- What don’t they do quite as well as you do?
- How are they positioning themselves?
- What areas are beyond their expertise?
- Are there opportunities for you to fill the gaps?
Prospects often ask about competing businesses, so your answers to those questions could even help you sell your product. An easy way to study your competition is to start by doing an internet search using keywords prospects would use to find solutions to their problems. Visit the websites of the ten most relevant search results and grab your pen and paper. Start noting their speciality areas, products and services offered, how they’re delivered, pricing, etc. What do they do better and different from you? What do you do better and different from your competition?
Your attitude toward the competition is essential. You should avoid criticizing competitors because it will only make you look unfavourable and make sure you have your facts straight to remain credible. It’s often best to avoid referring to the competition altogether so you can keep the focus away from them and squarely on your business and how you can help. Adding value at every step when dealing with prospects can often neutralize a competitor’s proposal.