Selling Insights Based on Customer Use Cases
Shifting from just selling data to selling insights will become an important differentiator in 2023.
Use Insights to Capture Customer Attention
Over the last year, the demand for data and the supply of data have grown exponentially with no sign of a slowdown. With this momentum rolling over into 2023, new opportunities are emerging for business intelligence companies. But to capture customer attention, organizations need to differentiate themselves from other firms also specializing in providing data and analytics-related insights, services and tools. They must look at themselves through the lens of the buyer.
From crediting and financial data to business and consumer data, vendors are developing insights faster than ever before. With advancements in AI and data science, not only is the pace of data capture accelerating, but the diversity of data is broadening as well. While this has held true for the legacy data providers, such developments have fueled an influx of niche, tech-savvy players to enter the market and fulfill previously under-served needs.
Companies are not the only entities aware of this evolution. Buyers know that there is a wealth of options to choose from to meet their specific data needs. The rise of digital has made access to information and tools as easy as a simple online search. Buyers are now more educated– they know the menu of offerings and which ones are off the table for them. Sellers in the space must appeal to them and their unique perspectives to close the deal.
As more companies transition to a DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) model, the cyclical nature of the buyer journey has come to the forefront. It is no longer just about closing a big sale, but it is about leading each customer through the adoption phase and providing continuous value to promote retention and expansion opportunities. In each stage of the journey, commercial leaders must constantly be thinking about how to engage the customer through interesting and valuable use cases.
Refine and Upgrade Offerings to Reflect Customer Use Cases
In this increasingly competitive space, how can organizations successfully differentiate themselves in 2023? In Alexander Group’s experience, it is organizations that successfully shift from selling data to selling insights that gain a competitive advantage and a higher likelihood of sustainable revenue growth. This means taking focus away from just offering plain data, platform, or analytical services and redirecting that focus to selling use cases that meet customer needs.
Selling insights can only become a reality when companies shift from communicating what they sell to what problems they can solve. For example, marketing managers use flat files of consumer data for myriads of applications. Any number of business intelligence vendors can fulfill the immediate need, set up a subscription and complete the onboarding process…but that data can easily go wasted and leave a customer questioning the data’s accuracy and ROI. Vendors that can speak to marketer objectives, offer best practices and advisory services (e.g., successful digital ABM campaign execution) and provide reliable and well-integrated data and analysis are the ones that enter a new paradigm: selling insights.
Align Marketing, Sales and Service to Track Use Cases
The first step in defining a customer use case is identifying the buyer-specific needs. Direct and indirect feedback (enabled by customer data) paints a clearer picture of which use cases create value for the buyer. Organizations may use formal means of gathering customer feedback, such as focus groups, interviews and surveys. Others use ongoing means such as tracking product usage, reviewing feedback and service inquiries, etc.
A core method companies use to identify new use cases is the organic approach: tracking trends in data and customer requests to identify new use cases. This pursuit lives in each part of the sales cycle, with marketing, sales and service all receiving and utilizing customer feedback to refine offerings to match use cases.
By integrating data and insights across these groups, organizations can align the entire buyer journey to use cases:
- Service tells marketing how customers use the product
- Marketing tailors messaging to take to market
- Sellers close the deal by selling insights based on the messaging
- Customer success (service) guides the customer through adoption based on customer needs
- This info is shared back to marketing, and the cycle continues
Tracking customer use cases from pre- to post-sales helps substantiate value realization by providing evidence of adoption and ROI at each stage of the cycle. And with digital technologies proliferating throughout the business intelligence space, more sophisticated tracking is making it easier than ever to sell these insights.
Connect Use Cases to Drive Retention and Expansion
As more business intelligence players adopt DaaS, organizations are forced to think well beyond their customer acquisition strategies. Leaders that focus on delivering insights and value are able to maximize retention and build a solid foundation for future upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Use cases are a powerful tool to demonstrate continued value for the customer. As buyers identify and accept more relevant applications, it becomes much easier to integrate insights across a single platform. This creates a value chain of use cases, opening significant expansion selling opportunities for existing customers.
An added challenge is that buyer needs are becoming more complex, with multiple buyers now being involved in any given deal.
Take credit bureaus, for example:
- Marketers want to target customers within a specific financial demographic
- Underwriters want to determine credit risk
- Database managers want to manage customer data accuracy, security and integrity
Each of these buyers will have unique challenges, leading to multiple use cases per buyer. This increased complexity is lengthening sales cycles as sellers work to fulfill customer needs.
With more buyers involved in any given deal, the insights sellers bring to the table have to potentially solve multiple problems. With connected use cases, customers can gain more value from combining these insights to see a fuller picture across all buyers within a sale rather than making the connections themselves with individual use cases.
Enable “Account-Based Selling” With Use Cases
If there is one thing business intelligence companies understand well, it is the power of data. Account-based marketing (ABM) harnesses the power of customer data to drive deeper client relationships. Enhanced personalization helps target the customer based on their specific profile, creating a perception of ease and convenience for the buyer.
Sellers stand to benefit from the principles of personalization in ABM. Selling insights will look different to every customer. Just as one product or service won’t fit every customer’s need, use cases won’t necessarily resonate with every customer. Sellers need to approach the sale with extra knowledge beforehand.
Buyers are becoming more educated about which offerings best suit their needs. Sellers need to come to the table with the same level of dedication to solving the customer’s problem. This means not just segmentation, but micro-segmentation and targeting. Each customer should have a Customer Success Plan to ensure the insights sold to them realize the most value based on their niche spot in the marketplace.
Leverage Use Cases to Drive Profitability and Growth
Shifting from just selling data to selling insights will become an important differentiator in 2023. Understanding and refining customer use cases will not only help drive maximum value for the customer but will also drive profitability and growth as buyers return year after year to gain new insights.
Please contact a Business Services practice lead for more information on how Alexander Group can help you leverage use cases to drive profitability and growth.