For a sales person, that first meeting or interaction with a new buyer is critical. It is important to know who you're talking to, what drives them and what motivates them. While these factors will differ depending on their job role and position in the corporate hierarchy, we often try to solve problems that have nothing to do with their job role.

Recently, I have taken on a new sales role. I am providing Time & Attendance solutions to enable businesses to manage workforce costs. My buyer could be a LoB Manager (Line of Business), Payroll Manager or an Operations Manager. Each of these people have different requirements.

So, I've been doing research into what drives a Payroll Manager. By connecting with people on LinkedIn, I've been able to meet with several people to talk about some of their key motivators. These are easy to identify with more mature businesses as Payroll Manager's deliver to a set of KPI's (Key Performance Indicators).

This got me thinking a bit more about how to identify specific pain points for an organisation. I managed to find a great source of information that often lists the pain/problems in a bullet point format. 

If I need to talk to someone in Payroll, I begin by going to a job website and searching for Payroll positions that may be available. Most of them list the key requirements for that role. Requirements, obviously relate to the business goals that the applicant is going to be tasked with meeting. My job is to work out how I can help.

Another thing you can do is to review LinkedIn profiles. Do a search for a particular job role or function. When you read someone's profile, you will notice that they may have outlined their roles and responsibilities. However, some people will have listed their achievements. Achievements are great! By considering their achievements, you'll be able to work out what their initial problem was.

With this basic research you should be able to formulate a basic understanding of what drives and motivates someone in a particular job role. This is especially important when you don't have a good understanding of the role.  

Make a list of the key issues and work out what the questions are that you need to ask that are relevant to the person you're talking to. By asking these questions you will be able to determine the best way for you to be able to "help". Notice I use the word "help", that's the job of a sales person.