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Measuring the Hunch

Intuition is a powerful tool in a business setting. Sometimes, a situation just “feels” right (or wrong) and it makes sense to trust our instincts. However, relying on hunches shouldn’t be the basis for your sales strategy. But what if you could measure those hunches? What if you could take a feeling and turn it into facts?

Consider this example:

Bob has had considerable success selling his company’s technology services to small- to medium-sized insurance companies. He’s developed a great relationship with a client named Jill. In fact, Jill likes Bob so much that she introduces him to her neighbor Tom, who happens to be an administrator at a local private school. Tom and Bob hit it off and, before you know it, Tom’s school becomes Bob’s newest customer. Based on this experience, Bob has a hunch that he should explore selling into the education industry.

Bob now has a choice:

  • He can continue to focus specifically on the insurance industry, where he has a proven track record, and chalk the new relationship with Tom’s school up to good fortune. In doing so, is he ignoring a viable and untapped market?
  • He can divert his sales efforts to the education sector. This will require a learning curve and a new contact base, but the payoff could be great. Or it could fizzle out. Given that there are only so many hours in the day, is the time Bob will put into developing this new sector worth the risk of missing out on acquiring more business in the insurance industry, which has already proved to be a successful market?

Rather than move blindly into this new industry segment, a fact-based assessment can be used to measure Bob’s hunch and determine the viability of the market. Outreach to a sampling of prospects in the education industry can provide measurable data about whether his technology services are a good fit. With the right information, Bob can decide to follow his hunch or not without sacrificing sales along the way.

Measuring the hunch is a systematic way to use metrics to drive your sales strategy and process. It can be applied in a variety of sales situations:

  • You have a database full of prospects, but are concerned they are not the decision-makers. Your hunch can be validated or refuted by reaching out and ascertaining the prospects’ authority and interest in your company.
  • Your sales team gets potential customers to the finish line, but repeatedly fails to close the deal. You have a hunch that something specific in the sales process is being ignored or overlooked. Your theory can be tested by probing into the key questions that are left off the table during the sales process.
  • You’ve got a hunch that sales are down because you’re having a tough time connecting with your target audience. A variety of approaches can be used to identify key areas of focus and breakdowns in the sales process.

Intuition is helpful, but a sales strategy based on measurable data takes away unnecessary risk and positions your sales team for a greater chance of success. If you have a hunch you’d like measured, we are here to help!

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