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Understanding Pain Intensity in Sales

In this post we discuss how to understand customer pain intensity and how to use it to provide value or put simply sell to your clients.

Every sale starts with a problem. If a problem doesn’t exist, there is no sale—period. It’s that simple. Every sale is initiated with someone being unhappy, frustrated, angry, sad, irritated, or some other emotion about a problem negatively affecting them.

As a founder doing Sales or a Sales Director/Manager or rep it’s important to not only understand the customer’s pain, but rather the intensity of that pain.

Too many times we see SaaS companies come to us and say: “hey can you help generate leads for us”, then we ask questions about the customer and why they buy the product.

It is very surprising when founders don’t truly understand why their customers buy their product or the pain intensity the product solves.

Identifying Customer Pain Points

Customer pain points are specific problems that prospective customers face which your product or service can solve. Identifying these pain points is crucial for tailoring your sales and marketing efforts effectively. Here’s how to identify them:

  1. Conduct Market Research:
    • Use surveys, questionnaires, and customer or prospect interviews to gather insights directly from your target audience.
    • Analyse industry reports and market trends to understand common challenges in the sector.
  2. Engage in Social Listening:
    • Monitor social media platforms, forums, and review sites where customers discuss their issues and frustrations. For example: we monitored the developer forums of SaaS product to understand customer pain points.
    • Use tools like Hootsuite, Mention or Brandwatch to track conversations about your industry and competitors. 
  3. Analyse Customer Feedback:
    • Collect and review feedback from existing customers through reviews, support tickets, and customer service interactions.
    • Review sites such as G2 etc can also be very good to understand customer problems.
    • Look for recurring themes or complaints that indicate broader issues.
  4. Sales and Support Team Insights:
    • Gather input from your sales and customer support teams who interact directly with customers.
    • Identify common questions, complaints, or objections they encounter.

Frameworks to Understand Customer Pain Points

1. Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD):

  • This framework focuses on what the customer is trying to achieve with a product or service. It helps you understand the desired outcomes and the obstacles preventing them.
  • Ask questions like, “What are you trying to accomplish with this product/service?” and “What challenges are you facing in achieving this?” will help you uncover the customer’s pain.

2. Customer Journey Mapping:

  • Create a visual representation of the customer’s experience from initial awareness to post-purchase.
  • Identify pain points at each stage of the journey where the customer encounters difficulties or frustrations.

3. The 5 Whys:

  • This technique involves asking “Why?” five times (or as many times as necessary) to drill down to the root cause of a problem.
  • It helps uncover underlying issues that may not be immediately apparent.

For example: A customer says “It takes us too long to do payroll at the end of the month” ask why is that? The customer says because “ It’s only 1 person who does payroll”, why? Because we want to save on cost… 

At this point it should be clear were your software or product can provide value to your client.

Assessing Customer Pain Intensity

1. Direct Feedback:

  • Ask customers to rate their pain points on a scale (e.g., 1 to 10) to gauge intensity.
  • Use surveys or interviews to gather this information.

2. Behavioral Indicators:

  • Monitor customer behaviour, such as the frequency of support tickets, complaints, or requests for refunds.
  • High engagement with support or frequent negative feedback may indicate high pain intensity.

3. Impact on Business:

  • Assess how the pain point affects the customer’s business operations, efficiency, or profitability.
  • More severe impacts typically indicate higher pain intensity.

In our payroll example earlier, we can ask our prospective customer how much it costs in terms of time and money to have 1 person doing payroll. Then ask if that cost was removed what impact would it make?

Questions to Understand Customer Pain Intensity

  1. Quantitative Questions:
    • On a scale of 1 to 10, how severe is this issue for you?
    • How often do you encounter this problem?
  2. Qualitative Questions:
    • Can you describe the impact this issue has on your daily operations?
    • How does this problem affect your ability to achieve your business goals?
  3. Situational Questions:
    • What have you tried so far to solve this problem?
    • How does this issue affect your team’s productivity?
  4. Prioritisation Questions:
    • Which of these problems is the most critical for you to solve right now?
    • If you could fix one thing today, what would it be?

Using Customer Pain Intensity to Provide Value

  1. Tailored Solutions:
    • Use the understanding of pain intensity to tailor your solutions specifically to the customer’s needs.
    • Highlight features and benefits that directly address their most pressing issues.
  2. Prioritise Urgent Needs:
    • Focus on solving the most intense pain points first to provide immediate relief and demonstrate value.
    • Offer quick wins that can build trust and set the stage for addressing other issues.
  3. Build a Compelling ROI Case:
    • Quantify the benefits of solving the pain points in terms of cost savings, productivity gains, or revenue growth.
    • Present a clear return on investment (ROI) to justify the purchase.
  4. Customer Stories and Testimonials:
    • Share success stories and testimonials from other customers who faced similar pain points and benefited from your solution.
    • This provides social proof and builds confidence in your product or service.
  5. Continuous Engagement:
    • Keep engaging with the customer post-sale to ensure that the solution is effectively addressing their pain points.
    • Offer ongoing support and adjustments to maximise the value provided.

By understanding and addressing customer pain intensity, sales reps can position their offerings more effectively, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive better sales outcomes.

So if you are a SaaS founder, Director, Sales Manager or Rep, we hope you found this content useful.

Let us know how you use Pain intensity to sell.

Need help generating Leads and providing ROI for your marketing efforts? Let’s talk.

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