A major windstorm blew through my hometown of Ashburn Virginia last year with gusts of winds hitting 60-70 mph. I can still vividly hear the howling winds!

After the storm I walked around my house to look for any signs of visible damage. I was relieved to see that I didn’t lose any shingles or siding like many homes in my neighborhood. “We dodged a bullet” I remember saying and thought little of the storm thereafter. Then about a month later I was working outside on a Saturday when a roofing repair truck came down my street.

“Do you mind if I go up on your roof to inspect for any wind damage?” asked the roofing consultant. “It will take me only a few minutes” he assured me. I readily admit I know nothing about roofs and my inspection didn’t involve me climbing up for an up close look. I wouldn’t know what to look for anyway! I was curious to get his professional opinion so I said yes.

It turns out I had wind damage in several places. The consultant marked the spots on the roof and then showed me a video he took with his phone explaining each problem. I was surprised by his findings but when presented with the video evidence I knew I had to take action. I am happy to share that I am the proud owner of a new roof and that sales rep closed the sale!

What does this story have to do with using interactive assessments in B2B sales? This roofing company used assessments very effectively in their sales process and I want to break it down to show how simple yet effective it is.

  1. The wind storm created a unique opportunity for the roofing company. They knew where to hunt. They dispatched their sales consultants into a high opportunity area. The equivalent in B2B sales is knowing your ideal customer profile.
  2. Each roofing sales rep was trained to conduct a free roof inspection. This is the assessment! Today many B2B sellers are not comfortable talking to the customer about their complex problem. They rely on sales specialists to help uncover the challenges and present the solution. Imagine if the roofing company needed 2 people to do the inspection instead of 1. What would that have done their selling ability? How many fewer inspections would they have done? How many fewer closed deals?
  3. The buyer needs to be interested, or at least curious, to know the outcomes of the assessment. Without this you won’t ever get anyone to agree to the assessment. I have turned down other opportunities like this because the assessment was not a priority. I just recently received an email about a free-assessment of my marketing systems. No thanks, not a priority for me.
  4. The assessment has to be quick and easy. Taking 15-30 minutes to climb my roof right then made it easy for me to say yes. If an appointment needed to be scheduled for a future date I likely would have said no thanks. Too much trouble.
  5. The assessment results have to be personalized. The consultant circled problems on MY roof and gave me tailored recommendations. B2B sellers must also tailor their analysis and recommendations for each buyer.
  6. The assessments results have to be instant. If I had to wait days or weeks for the results I would have lost interest and not agreed to the free inspection. B2B sales teams have a very difficult time achieving this today.
  7. The assessment uncovered a sales opportunity! This is the reason why you provide assessments in the first place! However not every assessment will produce an opportunity.Quickly understanding a client isn’t qualified is also valuable.
  8. The assessment accelerates the sales cycle! In a matter of a few minutes I needed a new roof! Had someone called me about a new roof I wouldn’t have moved nearly as fast, if at all.
  9. The assessment provides value to the buyer that builds trust and loyalty and increases the win rate. That rep drove down my street, climbed onto my roof, and explained to me my problems. That rep has an advantage over any other sales rep.

Using interactive assessments in the B2B sales process is not new but it has always been a challenge because they have been manual, slow, and limited.