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CEB: Show Buyers that the Pain of the Same is Greater than the Pain of Change

You’ve got your potential customer listening. Now what? It’s time to talk about your amazing solution, right? And tell them how great it’s been for other customers? Sure, you could do that.

But according to The Challenger Customer, your goal isn’t to convince them to buy your solution. “What? Heresy!” No, it’s your job to persuade them to change how they see themselves and the problem they need to solve to help their business grow.

bigstock-Business-people-shaking-hands--13871435You can do this by providing the champion—Mobilizer— with Commercial Insight to share with other members of the buying group. A good insight challenges the customer’s current mental model about a real problem their business needs to solve. It also helps stakeholders understand, as a group, that the pain of changing their business is less than the pain of staying the same.

According to CEB, most customers complete 57 percent of the buying process by the time they start talking to a supplier. Left on their own, customers will always engage a supplier as late as they possibly can.

To combat this, CEB says to engage a Mobilizer—someone who drives change inside companies—early in the purchasing process by giving them content that is focused on Commercial Insight that reframes your value proposition in context of their most important business goal. Otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to shape their buying criteria in a way that leads to your solution.

How? Commercial Insight follows a set of core principles that answer one simple, but very powerful, question:

What do our customers fail to fully understand about their business, but should?

To answer this, hunt for hidden connections between your value proposition and your customer’s higher-order outcomes.

Here’s how, according to CEB:

  • List your differentiators.
  • Create a list of outcomes your customers care most about.
  • Prioritize and choose an outcome as a starting point.
  • Map customer beliefs about outcome drivers.
  • Hypothesize connections between your differentiators and customer outcomes.
  • Test and validate connections.

Then ask:

  • What are our sustainable, unique strengths?
  • Of those unique strengths, which ones are currently under-appreciated by our customers?
  • What is it that the customer fails to fully understand about their business that leads them to under-appreciate our unique, sustainable capability?
  • What would we have to teach that customer about their business that would lead them to value our capability more?

And you’re on your way. Building Commercial Insight is a process for engaging Mobilizers in a conversation that they’ll find compelling enough to act on. It equips them with the evidence they’ll need to win over the other members of the buying group, despite high levels of internal dysfunction.

For a complete understanding of how to use Commercial Insight in your own process and with your own potential customers, we recommend reading the full The Challenger Customer book

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