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Insight-Led Selling: Optimizing a Value Framework for Customer and Personal Goal Realization

insight-led selling

Today’s buyers are more educated than ever. In fact, most product research happens long before talking to a salesperson. That puts pressure on sales professionals to have the tools and skills that allow you to be concise, direct, and sell in a compelling way. In this webinar, Dr. Stephen G. Timme, Founder & President of FinListics Solutions and co-author of Insight-Led Selling shares his framework for selling to the C-Suite. He’s joined by sales enablement leaders, Karen Heatwole, VP, Value Advisor at iCIMS and Donna McCurley, Global Sales Enablement expert, as they discuss tips and observations for empowering and building a successful sales team.

Whether you’re a seasoned seller or just getting started, insight-led selling is a practical approach that impacts not only your customers’ growth potential but also your selling potential.

While in the field, sellers face a number of challenges. In his research, Dr. Timme found that even when they’re aware of customers’ and prospects’ goals, 50% of sellers struggle to align their solution to those needs. That’s why 31% are still promoting features and functionality. For Donna McCurley, this is a sales enablement problem because sales teams may not have the appropriate metrics. Likewise, elevating the conversation can be intimidating, particularly for sellers with a nonfinancial background. However, regardless of their financial acumen, sellers need to be able to confidently have a conversation with an executive.

As buyers are flooded with proposals, sales professionals have to find ways to distinguish themselves. Executives are hungry for new insights (not what they already know). Unfortunately, 70% of them feel that sellers don’t understand their business. To address this, sales professionals need to address business outcomes and financial benefits so customers can make fast & accurate decisions that they feel confident will add value in the long-term. By understanding executives and key stakeholders, sales professionals can leverage that information in the buying cycle. This is where insight-led selling comes in.

The ABCs of insight-Led Selling offer today’s sales professionals a powerful framework that delivers results.

A — Adopt an Executive Mindset
To put yourself in the shoes of your prospect, you have to understand their goals, financial performance, and how they are evaluated. This is ultimately what they value. It includes earnings per share, sales volumes, return on investment, and a variety of other metrics. A lot of these details can be drawn from reading an organization’s annual reports and letters to shareholders. These include valuable information like the company’s vision for the future, key strategies, and the initiatives they are undertaking to get there. Connecting these insights to your solution is key to your success.

B — Building Credibility
Dr. Timme emphasizes that a big part of building credibility is knowing the industry. Trends in a given industry are often indicators of how a business is operating. For example, revenue growth and profitability can be linked to market changes. Karen Heatwole recommends having a team dedicated to learning and disseminating industry-specific knowledge. At iCIMS, she has a group focused on industry insights to provide sellers something unique that customers may not know. Learning about an industry means you may be able to provide previously untapped information—especially because you have the advantage of having an outsider perspective.

C — Communicate with Impact
Showing how your product delivers business outcomes consistent with customers’ goals is powerful. This requires individually tailoring your message and presenting the value of your solution in the context of that prospect’s expected business outcomes. Doing this helps deepen your relationships and even identify additional clients. Dr. Timme advocates the power of a 1% change conversation. This involves focusing on how a 1% change can impact an enterprise’s customer base, cost of operations, productivity, or any other value metric important to that organization. Seeing the small results helps bring the big picture into focus.

“The best sellers are those that are utilizing all the resources of their organizations and are coached by great leaders.”

How does insight-led selling transform sales enablement in practice? In sales, we are very often focused on transitioning team members from sales training to sales enablement. For McCurley, one of the biggest keys in sales enablement is partnering with and leveraging subject matter experts across the organization, including sales, marketing, legal, and others. Additionally, bringing in KPIs is an important aspect of this process. Heatwole adds that it’s about using metrics to tell a simple but compelling story that resonates with executives and key stakeholders.

The goal is to use our experts and resources to help us get better. She adds that having a platform like DecisionLink’s ValueCloud® makes this process straightforward, replicable, and scalable. It has allowed her enterprise to dig in, uncover variances, explore differentiators, and provide individualized business case studies. With real-world value metrics, prospects and existing customers can more quickly see the impacts of their investment. Those insights are some of the most powerful available.

Discover all of the tips and guidance shared in the session. Our panelists talk in great detail about the lessons they’ve uncovered around insight-led selling and building industry-specific knowledge into the process. Tune into the webinar.


Ty Flippin is Head of GoValue Solutions at DecisionLink.

Dr. Stephen G. Timme is the Founder & President at FinListics Solutions and co-author of Insight-Led Selling: How to Adopt an Executive Mindset, Build Credibility, and Communicate with Impact.

Global sales enablement expert Karen Heatwole is a VP and Value Advisor at iCIMS, a recruiting technology platform.

Donna McCurley is a 30+ year global sales enablement expert and experienced sales leader.