Many businesses, in recent years, have started implementing Design Thinking to achieve more productive and profitable results. Specifically, Design Thinking is the way of using various techniques and tools to come up with innovative solutions centered around solving the problems that impact people most.
Sales growth methods used in earlier years are now becoming obsolete with rising competition in every sector across many markets. Identifying and understanding people’s preferences in designing products and services is key to growing sales.
The premise of Design Thinking is in some ways like Solution Selling, whereas you are seeking to solve a problem. The main difference being that to solve a problem, you must first understand what the problem is at an emotionally intelligent level.
Whereas, in earlier years, sales professionals relied on their past experiences and the latest trends to create marketing strategies. Though these strategies sometimes work, Design Thinking provides a methodology to stay relevant and informed on the underlying needs of people so that you can deliver real-time solutions that are desired.
In other words, instead of only relying on past assumptions (i.e., playbooks) to create products and services, Design Thinking promotes looking at things from the person who has the problem that needs solving.
“Through people-centric lenses we can develop solutions based on needs and requirements, which will drive more sales.”
In this blog, we will dive deep into Design Thinking processes you can use to boost your sales.
Why do Sales Teams Require Design Thinking?
In organizations, sales professionals are under incredible pressure to deliver and hit maximum revenue numbers. Keeping the goal of revenue in mind, a salesperson is expected to have a little understanding of customer needs.
This way of approaching business development is gradually turning obsolete.
A new approach to business development must take its place, with an eye on identifying changes in customer trends and more importantly customer values.
The approach aligned around customer values encourages sales professionals to solve problems on the client’s terms rather than just pushing products. This approach can be fine-tuned by taking the techniques and tools from the Design Thinking toolbox.
Listed here are the primary tools of the Design Thinking toolbox that can help sales teams drive more sales.
Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. It acts as a human connecting agent. Empathy is a way to put yourself in your colleagues’ and customer shoes to perceive their feelings, challenges, frustrations, and problems.
The more you genuinely care about other people and are empathetic to what is important to them the more you can connect with people, build trust, and attain more sales to boot.
However, when it comes to Design Thinking for sales, more sales aren’t the goal… developing caring relationships that are heart centered is the goal.
Therefore, sales professionals should interact with customers in different ways to unearth more details about what matters to them, rather than just asking questions like it’s a checklist.
This process should be applied not to fill out a form but by being genuinely interested to understand and implement Design Thinking into your overall sales and marketing philosophy.
Curiosity in understanding the client’s preferences, needs, and requirements is necessary. Enabling salespeople with the idea of observing client’s environment is equally important.
They should try to collect information about how people work, what they work on, what organizational process is meaningful to them, and what they don’t like. With these insights, they can come up with solutions more relevant to the customer and add more value them.
Customer-centricity is the third key quality in the Design Thinking process for sales. People know about what options interest them before they purchase any products or service.
Considering these aspects, the sales professionals should understand people’s needs and preferences before directly jumping into educating them about their products. The ability to perceive insights about the customer’s values and wants, is at the heart of implementing Design Thinking business strategies.
The Design Thinking Sales Process
Following are the steps that can help integrate Design Thinking into your sales process.
Identifying and Defining Problems
This is the first step in Design Thinking. In this stage, sales professionals must have a deep understanding of their customers and practice relentless listening. Then, Design Thinking, requires you to challenge or question the problems learned to solve them.
It is important to step back and challenge the previous thoughts over and over until you reach clarity. Observing and identifying the problem is the primary thing to establish in this stage. Therefore, salespeople need a keen eye to get a fresh perspective to identify the issues customers face.
“The goal is to identify the right issues to solve and frame them in a way that creates new and creative solutions.”
Creating and Considering Different Solutions
Design Thinking approaches problems with different perspectives to develop valuable results. Design Thinking practice demands that one problem be solved by five different people in a day instead of one person solving one problem in five days.
This approach brings out better and richer results. In this stage, multiple people should work on coming up with multiple perspectives and then work as a team to synthesize them.
Refining Possible Solutions
In this stage, the solutions should be refined to near perfection. At first, the results should be embraced and nurtured since the ideas in this stage are fragile and new. Design Thinking enables the potential of ideas by creating an environment conducive to experimentation and further growth.
The primary goal of this stage is to get out-of-the-box results. However, integrating various options might also be required to bring out valuable and refined solutions.
Choosing the Most Valuable Solutions
At this stage, you get to define the potential solution for the identified problem. Then, the prototypes of the solutions are created and tested. Additionally, this stage helps to bring other ideas.
The proper solution to the customer’s problem is unearthed at this stage. It is the last stage where you pick up the most effective solution for the defined problem.
Design Thinking can bring innovative solutions to the problems faced by your customers, which demand you present them with relevant solutions.
In recent years, many organizations have been adopting Design Thinking in their business sales and marketing strategies. However, even now, some salespeople find it difficult to understand it.
Design Thinking is worth the effort since it can help bring in new changes in the market. Moreover, with Design Thinking, salespeople can best cooperate with customers to bring invaluable solutions and overcome complicated challenges, that often turn into hindering forces to driving sales.
The goal of Design Thinking for sales is to remove the hindering forces and allow salespeople to operate from the same side of the table as the client. To do so, you must build trust, and that only comes with the practice of empathy and emotional intelligence — the cornerstone of Design Thinking.