The Sixth Man: Using Sales Insights to Enable the Sales Process

by | Marketing Strategy

In the NBA, the Sixth Man award is given to the league’s best performing player coming off the bench as a substitute (the sixth man).  It’s significance points to the value this player brings to the overall team’s performance and the fact that championships are won with contributions from the entire team, including their substitutes.
So who’s your sixth man? Well, great sales professionals will win you a few games. But calling in sales insights from the bench will win championships. Here’s why. 
The new sales profile requires more than “relationship selling.” Today’s top performing sales reps are assumed to have basic relationship building skills. But relationships without insights could fall in the “friend zone,” leaving your team with a lot of friends and very little revenue.
What are sales insights and why are they so important?  Sales insights is information used as intelligence to propose a new perspective about your prospect’s business.  These perspectives are so powerful that it causes your prospect to reframe their entire business problem or opportunity altogether.   Here is a quick story on the execution.
A sales professional working for a credit card processing company is meeting with a CFO at a prospective medical group. The prospective medical group’s current vendor contract is close to expiring, so as a normal review they meet with a few vendors to gather pricing.  Rather than the typical sales process of asking lots of questions about the prospect’s business, the sales professional opened the meeting with valuable insight that went like this –
“We have found that many of our healthcare clients struggle with collecting patient balances in a timely and cost effective manner. In fact, a recent VISA study suggested 55% of patient balances go uncollected from patients with the intention and capacity to pay.”
The visa research is a great example of how this sales professional used a sales insight to reframe the problem. The CFO learned something that provided a new perspective on their problem…missing payments from patients with every intention to pay.  We won’t go into the whole presentation here, but we can confidently tell you this: sales insight set their solution apart from the competitors and minimized price as a sales hurdle.  Of course, all sales insights should lead back to your solution.
So back to the sixth man – Sales insights are the sixth man that will enable sales and strengthen the sales process. It’s critical to involve marketing and set this as a priority in their objectives while creating a seamless communication channel between marketing and sales efforts.

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