We have spent years getting sales professionals and organizations trying to become more customer focused. About 10 years ago, I published an article, Focus On Your Customer's Need To Buy, Not Your Need To Sell. To be successful in selling, sales professionals and organizations need to get personal with their customers.
It is important to talk to your customer--not the organization, but the individuals involved in buying your products. We need to get beyond the surface needs and obvious requirements. The sales literature is filled with stuff about "identifying the customer pain points." As Adele Revella cites in her Buyer Persona blog, often customers have been living with these for years. Yet they have not been motivated to change or buy.
The job of the sales professional is to dig deeper into understanding the customer. Each of us has both business/professional needs and personal needs. Most sales people tend to focus on the business needs but take no time to understnad the personal needs. These may be what really prevents the customer from moving forward. These needs may be very simple---help reduce the hassles I face in the job. They may be profound---I'm afraid of what will happen if this fails. Whatever they are, until we identify and address these, it will be difficult to sell.
Most sales people don't do this very well. It requires investing in the customer--individuals. It requires building a relationship. It requires questioning, listening, and understanding. In today's world, so much of the time sales people focus on the pitch, they focus on their need to sell.
It's amazing though, how simple things are is we start with Understanding The Customer's Need To Buy. Starting from the customer's point of view focuses you on your customer, increases your value to the customer, and increases your odds to win. Try it, see how it helps you and share your experiences in comments.