Customer pain points are what drive sales. The entire first third of the sales process revolves around identifying and catering to pain points. But you may be wondering what pain points actually are, and what you can do with them.
In this article, we define pain points and explain how you can identify them. We will also examine several types of pain points and address how to solve them. If you are interested in improving your sales strategy, read on.
What Are Customer Pain Points?
In a business context, a pain point refers to a problem the customer has. This problem can be anything from lack of financial understanding to frequently losing their keys. Prospective customers may not even realize they have a pain point.
Traditionally, doing business is all about identifying and providing solutions for pain points. These solutions are a company’s goods and services. A company may offer financial advisory services or a GPS keychain to solve the customer’s problem, for example. Some sales strategies involve the company convincing the customer they have a pain point and then selling the solution.
There are four primary categories of customer pain points: financial, productivity, process and support. We will discuss each of these categories and more later, but here are some brief definitions for now so you fully understand the examples.
Financial pain points occur when a potential customer feels their current solution costs too much.
Productivity pain points occur when potential customers find they are spending too much time on their current solution.
Process pain points are similar to productivity pain points. They occur when a potential customer feels they need to make their internal processes more efficient. This pain point is more common in B2B sales than B2C sales.
Support pain points occur when potential customers feel they haven’t been getting proper support during the sales process.
It is critical to identify prospective customers’ pain points in order to tailor your sales and marketing practices appropriately. If prospects don’t see a problem, they won’t look for a solution. Read on to learn how to identify potential pain points.
How to Identify a Prospective Customer’s Pain Points
Pain points can be simple and easy to solve but are most often complex. Therefore, you need to dig deeper in order to fully understand where your customers are coming from. What may seem like a cut and dry problem will usually have underlying causes that lead to more pain points.
The two methods for identifying prospective customers’ pain points are qualitative market research and quantitative market research.
Quantitative research involves hard data collection, such as counting the number of people that use a water fountain. This type of research answers the “what” but not the “why.” You may find out that many people use the fountain, but that doesn’t tell you why they use it.
Qualitative research typically involves asking open-ended questions to collect interpretable data. In our example, you can interview the people that use the fountain and find the “why,” thus uncovering their pain points. There may not be enough beverage kiosks in the area, so people have to use the fountain. You can then plan to open a new beverage kiosk to solve the problem and make a profit.
For our purposes, qualitative research is most useful in identifying prospective customers’ pain points. There are two approaches to conducting qualitative research: customer and sales research.
Conducting Qualitative Customer Research
No one knows your prospective customers like themselves. While each customer has a unique situation, you will mostly deal with similar overarching problems. Conducting qualitative customer research will help you form an in-depth understanding of prospects’ pain points
One possible method for this type of research is holding a focus group or workshop. Current or potential customers who attend these events can provide valuable insights into the various layers leading them toward your company. By asking open-ended quotations about their experience with your company, you can better understand why they chose you.
A good approach is to ask your current customers or consumers within your target demographic marketing interview questions. For example, you might ask what they think your product or service is after viewing an advertisement. Their answer will provide feedback on the effectiveness of your advertising and insight on what they pay attention to. You can then use this information to improve your sales processes.
Conducting Qualitative Sales Research
Your sales team is constantly interacting with prospective customers. Listening to their feedback can provide insight into potential sales problems and opportunities. However, it is important to separate issues with sales processes from genuine customer pain points.
An example of good use of sales feedback is identifying patterns in successful and unsuccessful sales. Your sales team might notice many of their leads referencing their preference for a competitor. Perhaps they believe your company cannot offer a better price than the competitor. Successful conversions might be surprised at the value of your product or service once your sales reps explained it to them.
The pain point in this situation is financial, but there is a flaw in your sales process. Your marketing might not be effective at addressing value concerns, or it might not be widespread enough. Now that you’re aware of this issue, you can take steps to improve your performance management process and sales strategy.
Common Customer Pain Points You Need to Know and How to Resolve Them
There is an infinite number of pain points potential customers can have. Grouping similar ones into broader categories helps businesses focus on the more general concerns. The sales industry is vast and using the combined experience of numerous sales professionals helps us prepare for more complex situations. So, it’s important to spend time familiarizing yourself with common pain point categories.
We briefly touched on four categories of customer pain points in a previous section. Now, let’s look at seven common pain points in-depth. We will also discuss possible methods for resolving them.
1. Financial Pain Points
Financial pain points are perhaps the most common concern for consumers. Most customers will pay attention to price, value and potential savings. However, there are a variety of different pain points within this category, each with its own solutions.
Many people assume the only way to win sales in a competitive market is to have the cheapest prices. While some customers focus on finding the cheapest products, there are several other factors at play in the sales process. Other potential financial pain points include:
- Product longevity, or how long the product will last before the customer has to repurchase. Many customers seek to save money by investing in quality products and services. Others prefer to buy a lower quality product for a cheaper price even though they may have to repurchase later.
- Ongoing expenses. Some customers may find dispersed payments more appealing than a larger, one-time payment. Others may be skeptical as some companies offer subscriptions or rentals that end up being more expensive.
- Repeat purchases. Many consumers prefer to purchase items they buy frequently in bulk to save time and money. On the other hand, convenience items like disposable products often cost more than reusable versions even in bulk. Consumers concerned with convenience may prefer disposable options, while consumers concerned with recurring costs may seek reusable options.
- Value. Customers may prefer higher quality products despite the higher price. Or, they might choose a generic product for a cheaper price with the same quality. Many customers also look at price differences when buying at scale.
Each of these financial pain points has a variety of solutions. While focusing on keeping costs down is a safe option for many markets, many consumers equate cheap with low quality. It is important to know your market and listen to your customers. If qualified leads are concerned about the price compared to competitors, determine what makes your product worth it and advertise it.
2. Productivity Pain Points
Productivity pain points are problems with efficiency. In today’s busy world, many consumers shy away from complicated solutions.
A good example is fast food. Most fast food is unhealthy, but all customers have to do is drive up, order and they get their food in minutes. Going to a sit-down restaurant is more expensive and time-consuming but can be healthier and provides a better experience. Cooking at home is sometimes the least expensive but most time-consuming option while being, potentially, the most healthy.
The customer makes their choice based on their pain points. If they’re running late, they generally get fast food. The goal for resolving productivity pain points is to offer a solution that balances time, convenience and comfort. Offering productivity tools is a great option for solving productivity problems.
3. Online Research Pain Points
Many consumers do online research before making a purchase, but most don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it. This is one pain point that has a relatively simple solution: make sure your brand is visible. Improving your team’s marketing skills and using AdWords management for your SEO needs is key. Search marketing plays a huge role in conversion in many markets.
4. Product Cost Pain Points
Similar to financial pain points, product cost pain points revolve around the total cost of a purchase. If potential customers have a hard time calculating the complete product cost, they are likely to go to a more transparent competitor.
To solve this pain point, it is important to ensure the buying process is intuitive and easy for the customer to understand. Ensure you are offering proper transparency by implementing inventory management procedures and staying away from hidden fees.
5. Checkout Pain Points
Just like product cost pain points, checkout problems can lose sales. Not enough companies invest in infrastructure. Whether your customers are checking out online, in-store or over the phone, the process should be streamlined.
Many customers will tolerate some inefficiencies but will be less likely to come back. An example of a pain to avoid is extensive questioning. Some companies bog down the checkout process with mandatory questions. Often these are data gathering questions that can feel invasive for the customer.
To resolve these pain points, eliminate unnecessary steps and inefficiencies caused by outdated infrastructure.
6. Tracking and Delivery Pain Points
After customers go through the checkout process remotely, most expect to have information on when they can expect their order. Confusing or nonexistent tracking options can cause cancellations and the loss of potential repeat customers.
Again, it is important to practice transparency as much as possible to solve these logistical pain points. Invest in your infrastructure so you can provide sensible tracking options. It is also important to use delivery systems that are reliable to avoid lost or damaged orders as much as possible.
7. Multi-Channel Shopping Pain Points
Having a cohesive brand is imperative to achieve an outstanding customer experience. Companies that operate multiple shopping channels, such as those with both online and physical stores, should integrate those channels. Pain points occur when various channels aren’t communicating and customers must repeat things.
To solve this type of problem, keep things simple and sensible as much as possible. There are many platforms that allow seamless integration of various channels, so this is another aspect to invest in.
Customer pain points are an integral part of the sales process. Without pain points, there would be no reason for customers to buy. To make sure your company has a good understanding of your market and key demographics, understanding pain points is critical. There are a variety of approaches to identifying pain points as part of qualitative and quantitative research.
Once you identify your potential customer’s pain points, however, you need to know how to solve them. As part of a business, your goal is to develop and sell solutions that prospects will want to buy. It is also important to prevent or resolve pains that crop up along the customer journey to ensure a smooth and efficient sales process.
You don’t have to do all this alone. Selling Revolution creates effective systems to help grow your company and achieve your goals. Book a call with us today to identify your customers’ most common pain points.