The Missing Link Between Sales Frameworks and Closing

As a head of sales, you’ve likely experimented with numerous frameworks for your sales team. There’s also a good chance that you’ve worn tired of the redundant message across all of them.

“Challenger reps aren’t focused on what they are selling, but what the person they are speaking to is trying to accomplish.” – Challenger Sales

“People buy when they perceive a discrepancy between reality and their desired results.” –Strategic Selling

“When we talk about needs we want to talk about them below the surface. We want needs to reflect the real pains of your buyers, consumers, users, and customers.” – NEAT Selling

Although these frameworks are helpful in creating a philosophy on why customer needs are important, they don’t give sales teams the content or tactical direction on what the customer needs are and how your solution satisfies them better than competitors. So what’s the missing link? How can you get your sales team to understand the customer need and use that to close more deals? Jobs-to-be-Done.

Jobs-to-be-Done is something you may be hearing from your product team. If that’s the case, and you’re wondering if you should care about the JTBD framework they’re using – the answer is a resounding “YES!”

Here’s an overview of how Jobs-to-be-Done helps you fill out the content in your Challenger, Strategic, or NEAT sales pitch and aligns the sales team with the product team.

1. Gain alignment on who the customer really is.
In many markets (especially B2B), the distinction between the Job Beneficiary–the person who benefits from getting the job done–and the Job Executor–the person who does the work to get the job done–is critical to understanding the needs of the person you are talking to. The job executor is part of the solution to getting the job done and new solutions will be developed over time to help the beneficiary get the job done on their own without the current executor. Perhaps your solution puts the Job Executor’s role at risk. Raise the notion that she can now allocate time to a higher order task.

One example of a solution targeting a Job Beneficiary is cloud-based applications. They have enabled companies to reduce or eliminate specialized IT managers (job executors) so that non-technical employees (job beneficiaries) can benefit from secure data use without having to rely on IT.

In medical markets, new medical devices have been developed to allow a patient to obtain a blood sample on their own without a specialized phlebotomist.

Once you have defined your target customer as the Job Beneficiary or Job Executor you can better understand who your solution is really for, target them in your prospecting, and tailor your sales pitch.

2. Define the ultimate customer goal (or job-to-be-done).

Connecting your product to the goal of your customer is a fast way to connect to the value they want to see from your solution. Framing it as a job-to-be-done is helpful because it in ensures that you focus on their goal independent of technology or a given solution.

For example, you don’t want to sell AI. You want to sell how AI helps your customer achieve their goal, which actually has nothing to do with AI. They had this goal before AI and the will still have it when the world is hot on some new tech.

What customers want is to be understood and for you to tell them that whatever problem they’re experiencing, whatever goal they want to achieve – your product is going to do what they need it to do. The end.

By getting to the heart of their goal, you’re able to have a more natural, empathic conversation during the sales call. Customers are more likely to open up and discuss their unmet needs. You are there to empathize with their struggle and provide real value.

Tip: Once you’ve discovered the JTBD, share a similar success story. Focus on developing a hero (previous customer) who overcame the same struggle. Highlight how you helped them do it faster, more accurately and worry-free. Include metrics and proof points of how you helped this customer get the job done.

3. Avoid the feature-to-feature comparison trap.
When a product team strives for feature parity with a competitor, they are in the follower’s position. If you’ve ever been on a team that is playing feature catch-up, you know it’s like bailing water out of a leaky boat: every time you release a feature and think your work is done, your competition releases something new, racing ahead of you yet again. Microsoft thought they caught up to the iPod by including all of its features in the Zune. Apple launched the iPhone.

Microsoft tried to catch up again with the Windows Phone, but playing catch-up leads to failure.
Feature to feature competitive analysis often fails to identify new competitive threats that can emerge from a different category of products or services. Encyclopedia Britannica thought they were competing with other collections of books and failed to realize how CD-ROMs (and eventually the Internet) could upend their business and lead to their failure.

If a customer asks if you have a particular feature, guide the conversation back to the unmet needs they have and the job they are needing to get done. Keep the conversation grounded in what’s most important to them, and the features will become less important.

4. Create a successful alignment with the product team.
Developing a Jobs-to-be-Done framework for your teams is critical in not only providing your sales team with the right structure to close deals, but it also provides them with the right language to collaborate more productively with the product team.

Sales and product teams have long been on opposing forces within an organization. Sales is unsatisfied with the lack of new features they can sell and product is unsatisfied with the lack of support and quality feedback they are getting. It’s an age-old battle that will continue as long as features stand at the center of product development and selling.

However, when teams are aligned on the Job-to-be-Done, there is more clarity on what provides real value to customers. Creating a Jobs-to-be-Done strategy allows for product teams to build a roadmap that is customer-focused and sales teams a more guided framework on how to sell the product. Instead of going back and forth on customer demands and new features, with JTBD sales teams will be able to validate and the job and product teams will have more data that falls in line with their roadmap.

Jobs-to-be-Done is not a strategy just for product teams. Implementing JTBD across sales and marketing teams allows your entire organization to develop a cohesive language they can share that is customer-focused and memorable. If you want to learn more about how to train your teams on JTBD, check out our services, software, or online training course.

Posted by Jay Haynes

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