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Six Reasons Every Team (and especially your sales team) Should Embrace Design Thinking

business strategy customer experience design thinking innovation problem solving sales performance team collaboration

Design Thinking: A Sales Superpower

Design thinking is not just a buzzword; it's a practical approach that enhances various aspects of business, from innovation to customer loyalty. For sure, it's not the silver bullet to all an organization's challenges or projects, but its impact on sales and overall business performance is backed by substantial research and real-world success stories.

For teams aiming to stay competitive and innovative, design thinking is not just an option; it's a necessity. Here's why every team, regardless of industry, should consider training in design thinking:

1. Improved Innovation and Performance

Research from the Design Management Institute reveals a striking benefit of design thinking: companies that embrace it outperform the S&P index by a whopping 219% over ten years. This remarkable statistic highlights how design thinking fosters innovation, leading to products and solutions that significantly boost sales performance.

2. Enhanced Customer Experience

Forrester's insights reveal that companies focusing on design thinking and customer experience can see their return on investment triple. In the realm of sales, where understanding and improving customer experience is vital, this approach can be transformative.

3. Increased Problem-Solving Efficiency

IBM reports that design thinking can streamline team alignment and consensus-building processes by up to 75%. This efficiency is a game-changer in developing sales strategies and responding to market shifts.

4. Higher Revenue Growth

The McKinsey Design Index underscores the financial impact of design thinking, with top-quartile companies in design practices achieving 32% more revenue and 56% higher returns to shareholders. Integrating design thinking into business operations correlates with significant financial success.

5. Better Team Collaboration and Agility

A study published in the Harvard Business Review highlights that design thinking cultivates an iterative, user-focused approach to problem-solving. This leads to more agile and collaborative teams, a crucial factor in sales environments characterized by rapidly changing market conditions and customer needs.

6. Increased Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

The Design Management Institute's survey indicates that design-centric companies enjoy higher customer loyalty and satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and act as brand ambassadors, a vital factor in sales success.

And if we specifically look through a lens of consulting or consultative sales, Design Thinking can provide proven, reliable, and repeatable ways to connect with clients authentically and credibly.

This week, we were talking with a client about training their consultative sales team in design thinking and collaborative practices. We've done this before in several large enterprise clients with fantastic results.

In talking through the benefits and practical applications, I realized I had not written about the benefits through a sales lens.

So, for those thinking about how to evolve, here's a hit list of what design thinking can do for consulting or consultative sales teams.

Design Thinking as a Sales Superpower Helps Teams:

  • Better understanding customers needs: It focuses on empathy, helping salespeople understand client needs for better solutions.
  • Propose More Credible, Robust, and Customized Solutions: Promotes the creation of tailored solutions to meet specific customer needs.
  • Move Beyond Conversations/Presentations to Collaboration: Encourages teamwork with clients to frame and solve challenges as well as engage internal functions, leading to more effective sales strategies, cross-selling, and yield.
  • Problem solve, better, faster, stronger: Encourages creative solutions to customer challenges, aiding salespeople in offering stronger solutions.
  • Building Relationships: Its collaborative, co-creation, and empathetic approach helps forge stronger, more genuine customer relationships.
  • Adaptability: Design thinking's iterative nature allows salespeople to quickly adapt to market changes and feedback.
  • Better Communication: Uses storytelling to effectively convey product benefits, making them more relatable to clients.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Aims to create valuable, user-friendly solutions, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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References for Those Interested:

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