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SPIN Selling, Enterprise 2.0, and Real Business Benefits

June 14, 2006

I’m listening to Neil Rackham’s book S.P.I.N. Selling right now. I like it. It doesn’t have the same “cheese factor” that most sales books have. And, it’s geared for people who make “large sales” or those that require more than one sales call.

Asking Questions
His approach is quite nice because he gets you asking questions. Over the course of a number of calls you will use these questions to find out about the prospects situation, about the prospects problems, turns those problems into “explicit needs” and then uncover the “implications” of those problems. Finally, through questions, you move to deriving the need/payoff of the solution. (So, SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff).

Understanding Needs
His focus is really on understanding the customer’s needs. Clearly understanding. And shaping the discussion around those explicit needs. Then placing your solution in direct response to those needs. Pause for a moment.

Enterprise 2.0
Today I first learned that there was a term called “Enterprise 2.0” that we can all add to our buzzword toolkit. It made me think about Web 2.0, and all the so-called “social media” things such as RSS, podcasting, blogs. And don’t for get the PR 2.0 I just blogged about. Enterprise 2.0 adds wikis into the mix.

Rackham Makes Me Think
We spend so much time blogging, hyping, discussing technologies and how they will be “the next big thing,” but often we forget to talk about it in terms that matter to paying customers.

If I tell you (assume you are a CEO) about the features of an Enterprise 2.0 solution based on wikis, you will then understand what a wiki is, and maybe even understand the difference between structured and unstructured data. BUT you probably won’t feel the need to act on implementing it.

What’s the problem the wiki solves? What’s the implication of that problem in a business? As Rackham says,

“Implications are the language of the decision maker.”

Speaking Their Language
It’s hard to switch from geek speak to something that speaks like the CEO, or maybe CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) in the case of Enterprise 2.0, but the sooner we can use less “feature speak” and more “benefit/direct business payoff” language, the more successful we’ll be.

(To be fair – we geeks should all continue the discussion of the technology, but for my readers in the marketing land, we must not forget what sells – real business benefits.)

NOTES
WIKI – Basically a site or resource where users are allowed to add or edit content collectievely. Here’s an article about it from The Media Online.

Enterprise 2.0 – Read Thomas’ discussion here – he gives some definitions.

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One comment

  1. Listening to your Customers

    The Funky Uncle Marketing Blog writes about a new book called “Spin 2.0″ in which one of the focuses is:

    Understanding Needs
    His focus is really on understanding the customer’s needs. Clearly understanding. And shaping the discussion ar…



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