When I emailed the follow-up reminder for this webinar – I replaced the word "sell" with phrases like drumming up business, adding new services, etc. And many more market researchers signed up. I replaced the word sell because my hypothesis was that: Selling has a bad rep amongst researchers.
I'll be teaching you the 6 steps to selling dashboards, but you'll see that selling is merely being able to explain the benefit of your service in a way that exceeds the pain of someone getting it. It's about clarity, getting to the essence of problems and solutions, and then, well, being relentless. This process is not just about selling dashboards, it can apply to selling everything.
I'm one of the founders of Displayr – we've been around for 15 years, initially with Q and now Displayr too. When it comes to selling, I have some cred. When we first launched, I was the sales, marketing, and sometimes, even the customer success team. And I hustled, hounded, harassed my way into a bunch of market research companies, many of you are listening now. Hi there!
But it didn't take long before we worked out a system and our sales quickly gained altitude. I've also made a ton of mistakes along the way, but true to our industry, we've documented, tested, and measured everything. Today, I'm giving you the six steps that make it easy to get momentum and sell dashboards. I can honestly say that they are the difference between your dashboarding venture taking off and never getting off the ground.
There's no need to take notes; I'm giving you this document and all the resources – yes, everything. And here is the action plan to get you from take-off to cruise altitude. There are two phases of the action plan: preparing to sell dashboards and selling. The sales process is easy: it goes the pitch meeting, the scoping meeting, the pricing agreement and delivery. To do that, we need to build out our message, collateral, pitch decks, and contact lists.
First, we need to communicate what we are selling. “Uh, yeah? Duhh?” I hear you say! I often interview experienced salespeople, and the first thing I ask of them is to pitch their current offering to me. Very few can do this with any real clarity, let alone make it sound like something people would want to buy. The good news is that there's a formula you can use to work out the essential bits of your message and make it resonate. You'll see we use this everywhere. Define the problem, agitate by stirring it up – this is an excellent way to heuristic-ise (if that's a word), or speed up the understanding of the problem, then provide a solution.
So what problems do dashboards solve? You'll probably have a good feel on what the overarching issue is but keep refining. Common problems I hear about are decision makers not getting results fast or current dashboards falling below spec.
Now agitating is fun. We want to make our audience feel the problem. Without agitating a problem, your message will go in one ear and out the other. We all know how inundated we are with messages and work.
The last bit is to close the loop and describe how we can solve the problem. I love using the joiner, "so you can."
Bringing it all together; this is my example. Yours might be different: Most consumer insights teams struggle to get insights fast enough. The problem. You want them right now, or yesterday, always at your fingertips. Agitate. And here's the solution: We now build dashboards and interactive reports so that you can access and explore all your insights instantly. Keep in mind that there will often be more than one problem, but we want to focus on the dominant need or problem.
Now you've nailed your message, let's build out some collateral. By collateral, I mean example dashboards that will be used in your pitch meeting to illustrate different use cases. They are also handy to email out to people that are not ready to buy.
We've got you covered here. The most straightforward way to build "example dashboards" is to start by repurposing ours. We've designed this page so you can go in and edit them. Or you could look at some of the PowerPoints you've done and improve on them by using interactive tools like hyperlinks, drill-downs, and filters. As a reminder, I'll give you this document with all the resources. But let me show you how to do it.
Spend a few hours doing that. Or if you don't have a few hours, just stick your logos on ours; we'd love for you to use them. But if you're creative, the sky's the limit. Boom. Once you've put a few of these together, you'll need to sick them in one place. Create a page on your website, if that's too hard, insert them into a blog post and if that's too hard, create a page in Displayr. Spend a day making examples – because these are central to pitching your dashboard services. Book a demo with us if you need some help.
OK, we've got a one-paragraph sales pitch and some examples to show during our meeting, next we need to put it together in a compelling pitch presentation. Don't worry; I've got another big freebie coming up.
Thankfully, we've got another formula here. Even better, I've got a template that you can base your pitch off. I'll send it to you.
Home page: Image of success, what you offer, their solutions, their company logo. Most importantly, this pitch is about helping them, not about how great you are.
The challenge: Your discovery process will uncover specific pain points, so if the discovery – which I'll get into later - tells you they want something different, e.g. The dashboards they have are expensive and useless. You'd tailor this paragraph to that.
Show don't tell: Use your examples to show how you can solve their problem, making sure you have an example of their use case. This dashboard is a tracker; we've trained a machine-learning algorithm to code customer complaints automatically as they come in.
Other great benefits – layer the value "but wait there's more".
Testimonials, logos to increase trust pr reduce risk. Make sure they're about how you helped your clients, not about you. Why not offer a friendly client a free dashboard in exchange for a testimonial? Or you can use a general quote from a client about how you made them awesome.
Next steps: Close the deal. Never end anything or send anything without a call to action. And our call to action is to book the scoping meeting. The next steps also look easy.
We can't sell unless we have someone to sell to. The final prep step is to build a list of people you want to get in contact. This logical, but often skipped step is the difference between gaining momentum and never getting off the ground. And here's a tip: Don't rely on memory! Set yourself up a calendly link - this removes the friction of booking meetings.
So you want to start with something easy – list out your top 5 to 20 most likely clients. Start with Google sheets – I'll give you this template to mine. CRMs like HubSpot are great, but if you're anything like me, new software is a primary reason for procrastination– I love it.
Where to find your leads or prospects or whatever you want to call them: The no brainer is to include dashboards as an optional extra in all pitches. Use a slide-in on your website that links out to Calendly. So they go straight in, no friction.
Now we are up to doing bit – we're flying. Doing equals: Pitch, scope, finalize, close, cement.
Book the meeting: the step you are going to try to avoid. Remember, the difference between taking flight and never getting off the ground is process and discipline. If you call, you have their complete attention for a few mins + it is much harder to say no. We test it all the time; we book 1 in 3 phone calls and about 1 in 50 emails, often worse than that. Closing a deal takes an average of 5 calls for 80% of all sales, but 44% of salespeople quit after just one follow up. Be relentless; it's the difference between take-off and never getting off the ground.
Now the fun stuff. Remember, the process is book pitch meeting > pitch>scope>plan. Deep breath, smile. “Hi Amy, it's Matilda from Researchers Rule.”
“You might remember we partnered with you last May?” Wait a beat. “So the reason for my call” ….pause… “is that we've been creating dashboards & online reports for insights teams that drastically speed up reporting.” Now they are getting a bit panicky = wanting to get off the phone – so bring it back to their problem really quickly…
“…and I know how you always need your results really fast, like yesterday…
So all those hours that are sucked up by that back and forth between researcher and client - can you filter by this or that, can you try this or that? It's so frustrating, yeah?”
That was the agitate bit. “Well, dashboards eliminate that - gone. They put you in control of your results - at your fingertips. See where I' m coming from?”
“So Amy this means that you get your results when you want them, or your decision-makers need them - it's instant. Amy, the efficiencies of dashboards are huge. Are you seeing it?”
Call to action “So, Amy if you have 20 mins some this week, I could show you precisely the type of dashboards we could build for your team and for your data. What do you think? Yes? Great, can I ask you 4 quick questions so I can see exactly what your needs are? There's your call script – perfect it and commit it to muscle memory.”
Discovery is an area you are better than me - we just need to get to the underlying needs and problems that they might not even know they have. These are actually adapted from Jordan Belfort - straight line selling works really well - although he is literally the wolf of wall street. Another selling method that work for our industry is the challenger but that's tough to master.
And then we get to the pitch meeting – we've seen this. We tailor the challenge: if the discovery had shown they wanted their dashboards redone, it would be a different challenge, and we'd need to update. But the important thing is that we've tailored our message to the dashboard buyers problems. We've shown examples of solutions and ended with a plan.
Finally, what do we do with everyone that wasn't ready for a meeting?
We build a list of names and nurture. We send them emails curated to show them how the dashboards they initially thought they had no real use are a time-saving necessity. The nurture process moves people from curiosity to enlightenment to commitment - for commitment, just get them to the pitch meeting and trust your three-step plan will bring them home. I can't tell you how important it is to build a list like this is – especially when times are slow or pandemic hits. Our list of around 48,000, mainly researchers, meant we could pivot our entire marketing strategy very quickly.
How do we do it? We just drip out emails to everyone on the list. We use a system of jab, jab, jab, jab Right hook from Gary Vaynerchuk.
And that is the 6 step plan!