Customer acquisitions often require a combined effort from sales, marketing, product leaders, and executives. For account-based selling to be successful, everyone must maintain a comprehensive understanding of the customer. Enter, the Customer Insight Report.
We call this the “Last Mile of Pre-Sales Customer Analysis.” An account-based strategy requires consistent messaging and positioning throughout the sales cycle. And, you can only achieve that level of consistency by maintaining a shared understanding of what’s in the minds of the decision-makers you’re targeting.
That’s a tall order. In essence, building a Customer Insight Report involves packaging large amounts of information into a concise, comprehensible summary. This report will help unite your entire team towards a focused, effective sales campaign.
If you’ve never created a Customer Insight Report, you’ve come to the right place. Today’s blog post will give you the tools you need to write a Customer Insight Report that benefits your entire organization. Let’s get into it!
What is a Customer Insight Report?
Modern marketing and sales professionals have a wealth of business intelligence at their disposal, from proprietary customer data to public market intelligence reports. Of course, you can’t expect every employee to read and comprehend every piece of analysis available to them. That’s where a Customer Insight Report comes in.
A Customer Insight Report takes a wide variety of data and intelligence and packages it into one condensed report that applies to a business’s specific target customer. These reports contain valuable insights, conclusions, and suggestions that help sales and marketing teams close deals more effectively.
In most cases, a strategic market analyst should be the person creating Customer Insight Reports. Otherwise, salespeople would spend far too much time conducting research for each individual deal. Some businesses elect to hire an external consultant.
What information should a Customer Insight Report include?
The information within a Customer Insight Report should focus on the thought process and the decision-making process of key C-level executives.
In other words, think about the people who have the final say in purchasing your products. Start with them. If you predominantly sell to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), then the CIO should be a focal point of your Insight Report.
It’s a good idea to also include insights about the CEO, as their priorities surely impact other C-suite executives. For example, say a CEO at one of your target companies has adopted a new policy that demands strict ROI measurements for all future purchases. Knowing this, your Customer Profile Report might suggest that your sales team prepares thorough ROI statements for when they meet with this prospect.
A typical customer profile report includes the following details:
About the company
Summarize what the target company does, who they sell to, and how they’re performing. Include an org chart that highlights key decision-makers, from the CEO down to VPs and Directors.
Summarize industry dynamics, competitive environments, trends, and growth drivers and inhibitors.
The customer’s business strategy
This information is often taken for granted. (We’ve seen a meeting end because a sales rep couldn’t answer this opening question: “Can anyone here tell me what our business strategy is?” Not a pleasant memory.) Your target buyer’s business strategy is deeper than “they sell cars”. It’s about how they go to market, how they plan to grow, and what they are doing to be unique and remain competitive.
How to tailor your messaging and proposition
After you’ve gathered all your relevant intelligence, it’s important to determine what will resonate with this decision-maker. Why does your solution fit their specific needs? This is also where personal information becomes useful — look for any relevant work history or background information that might reveal a connection between the prospect and someone within your organization.
These should be peppered throughout the document. Include notes about sensitive topics that your team should handle carefully when talking to the prospect. For example, you should be aware if the company has recently experienced a major problem, such as a scandal or a security breach. Being aware of these hot-button topics will prevent your team from jeopardizing the progress and tone of the conversation.
Why does this company have a need for your solutions? Has that need been influenced by competition, regulations, management changes, mergers, acquisitions, etc.? Knowing the nature and scale of the prospect’s change drivers will influence your team’s approach.
This refers to the value the prospect will receive by purchasing your product. Keep in mind, these details should go beyond your generalized value proposition. Include personalized notes that pertain directly to the company, and the specific decision-makers you’ll be in contact with.
Who can use a Customer Insight Report?
Many teams and employees can benefit from a Customer Insight Report, beyond sales teams who are in contact with the customers. These profiles will benefit:
- Sales teams and managers: Obviously, a Customer Insight Report will help sales reps have more informed conversations. But, they will also benefit sales managers, allowing them to track customer activity and better coach their account reps.
- Marketing team: Account-based marketing programs need to isolate and market specifically to their target accounts. Customer Insight Reports enable ABM programs with details necessary for personalized outreach.
- Product leaders: Insight Reports give product execs information about how their solution fits the needs of their customers. These Reports help them understand the best way to stress their value proposition, and how to properly engage with the key players at a target account.
- Executives: When your company’s executives meet with key decision-makers, it’s often a make or break moment. An informed vendor has a tremendous advantage over one that simply talks about vision or comes to smile and shake hands when a deal is in its final stages.
Final Thoughts: How to Write an Engaging Customer Insight Report
We’ll leave you with a point that might cause some unease. For your Insight Reports, you’ll need to break the common rule of limiting documents to one or two pages.
But, that doesn’t mean your 3-to-6+ page Customer Insight Report needs to be dry and boring. Write it in human terms. GIve your own suggestions and conclusions. Use a little (a little!) humor when appropriate. And remember, it’s always better to include too much information than not enough information.
This “last mile analysis” is where your investment in customer data and business intelligence pays off. These final Customer Insight Reports help your entire team, from sales reps up to the CEO, understand each customer. They keep everyone on the same, winning page.
For more help scaling your sales and marketing efforts, contact ZoomInfo today. We’re a leading B2B contact database and we have the tools you need to streamline your strategy and grow your business.
Ned Daubney is the Strategic Customer Advisor and Founder at Last Mile Insight, where he helps sales and marketing teams sell complex solutions to their most important customers by providing highly customized, deep-dive customer Insight. Some call this their “big-deal homework.”