Step 1.  Identify the big challenges that your prospects are facing

Sales start with meetings and conversations and depend on building trust.  There are a number of ways to support your customers on the journey.  Don’t forget to take a baseline measurement of your key performance indicators before you start.

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Ed says: “We usually start with desk research to understand the value chain and conduct a PESTLE analysis of the sector.  Research papers and trade press articles can be purchased via the web.  Business journalists, civil servants and academics are often good sources of secondary research — always making sure to credit the interviewees; or not, if they prefer anonymity!

“We try to gain a holistic view, carrying out primary research with insiders responsible for business development, learning & development and marketing.  Our purpose is to identify the issues they are facing — or those that are just beyond their horizon.  We also want to know how people are responding to them.  We might run a web survey but there’s no substitute for 20 minutes on the phone with some carefully thought-out questions from an experienced and sensitive enquirer.”