Understanding your customer’s corporate business culture is an important, and often over-looked, variable that impacts your sales process.
Develop the ability to “read” the dynamics of your customer’s business culture. Enhance your sales productivity and win rate.
Consider your usual process for learning about customers. “Checking out” the company website is not sufficient. Website verbiage is often embellished marketing, copywriting and PR. Secondary research provides more depth.
My advice: access more than one article about your customer. Read source material instead of one book report-type review article. Stop taking short cuts with your sales enablement program.
Business culture is comprised of the collective mindset of the organization: values, habits, perspectives, ethics, and persona. Business culture is infused throughout and within your sales cycle.
Recognize that your understanding of a business’s culture is built on more than your interactions and relationship with one individual operating within that corporate culture. That’s a sales shortcut, too.
Business culture discovery includes identifying all the assumptions you make in your rush to win business. Those assumptions are more shortcuts.
Business culture is the critical component of decision-making that makes your customers go dark, become skeptical or remain enigmatic and inconsistent.
My advice: don’t make assumptions about anything. Observe, then form opinions. Use your discovery process to test your perceptions before you act on them.
Continue to reframe your understanding of your customer’s business culture and how it impacts their decision making process throughout your sales cycle. Asking your customers about their decision-making process during the front end of your sales process is just the first time you will explore their process – not the only time. Reflect how their responses vary over time. Actions speak louder than words.
My advice: After a series of meetings, virtual, phone or in person, give yourself a reality check debrief. Review your observations. What’s your gut feeling about their corporate culture? Test your observations. Have the guts to call out your customer. No shortcuts, especially at this point.
When you continuously build on your understanding of business culture, you reduce the risk of pursuing a sales cycle with customers who ultimately waste your time. That’s when you become far more productive, efficient and effective as a salesperson of worth.
You have plenty of customers that would benefit from your expertise. Why keep them waiting by pursuing dead ends?
Start including business culture as a customer discovery checkpoint in your sales process.
No more sales shortcuts.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.