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What are the winners of sales opportunities actually doing differently?

Posted by Cliff Pollan on 11, Aug, 2014 Insight Selling


When I first met John Doerr and Mike Schultz, of the Rain Group, it was via introduction by their European colleague Ago Cluytens. Ago and I had connected earlier and he gave me great input on Postwire.

When I entered the RAIN Group offices, things were slightly amiss as they were recovering from a flood in their building. I remember the day vividly as they were pulling together a Powerpoint describing the results of an extensive study of buyers’ attitudes towards sellers. Their working title was What Sales Winners Do Differently.

We quickly became embroiled in a deep discussion about their findings and how to present them. Their sound analytic foundation and deep experience resonated with my personal sales experience and I’ve since shared their findings with hundreds of people.

John and Mike surveyed over 700 B2B buyers, giving them a comprehensive, rich data set. When people ask which part of their research I find most useful, I always direct them to where they discuss the traits that buyers valued as most important in their sellers.

The top two traits that buyers valued most from the winning sellers were:

  1. Educated me with new ideas and perspectives
  2. Collaborated with me

And, when they looked at how buyers rated the salespeople who DID NOT win the deal, the data consistently showed that these sellers did not “educate” or “collaborate”.

The message seemed clear: to win you need to educate and collaborate.

John and Mike have now published their book Insight Selling: Surprising Results on What Sales Winners Do Differently. Having been lucky enough to have seen their findings and insights, I can say with confidence that this book is a must-read for anyone involved in creating revenue, including sales, account management, customer success, marketing, and the executive suite.

The Rain Group use Postwire to put insight selling into practice. You can read about it here in this RAIN Group case study.


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