We already addressed why selling features and functions doesn’t work with Power. However, you need to go further than showing ROI, even if it’s positive or substantial. That isn’t the way to sell to Power either.

Executives are interested in more than what numbers say because they may have several projects showing a positive ROI but don’t have the budget to address them all. To stand out and get your solution above the fray, you must prove it can address the problems that are Power’s priorities. 

You can use numbers to support your claims, but you must address specific business issues. The easier you make it for Power to see how you can help, the faster you close your sale.

Power Pain Points vs. Middle Management Pain Points

Why do sales organizations tend to concentrate on features and functions? Because most RFPs are focused on operational and user-level business problems. Therefore, your sales team approaches sales by showing how your solution’s features and functions answer those types of issues. The salespeople don’t necessarily know or understand the more abstract pain points at the executive level.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know Power’s pain points, you cannot identify your Zebras. You can’t forecast your accounts, and you can’t create proposals that showcase the success of your solution.

We aren’t saying you don’t need to know operational and user-level concerns. Still, to find your Zebra, you need first to understand how Power sees things. Only then can you guide your customer to success.

Examples of Power, Operations, and User-Level Pain Points

These are things operations cares about:

  • Reducing labor and inventory
  • Increasing throughput and inventory turns
  • Reducing damage and scrap

These are typical user-level concerns:

  • Simplifying their jobs
  • Increasing their ability to respond to customer requests
  • Easily changing set-ups, packaging, and other issues

What does Power really worry about?

  • Leveraging core assets of knowledge and technology to create shareholder value
  • Driving rapid and dramatic growth
  • Building commitment to delivering relevant solutions to customers
  • Using state of the art e-marketing and online strategies to best advantage
  • Executing with precision

Are you having trouble identifying Power-level pain points? Look at what operations and users need and try to map upwards to an executive-level view of those points. User concerns filter up to operational problems, which, in turn, become Power concerns.

If you understand how Power thinks, it’s easy to take those lower-level issues and expand them into business issues.

How Does That Work?

Let’s say that Power buys a solution to implement a lean manufacturing initiative to accelerate growth. How will that solution trickle down to answer lower-level pain points?

Perhaps the company is stalled on growth because it can’t compete on price and needs to deliver frequently changing technology on a faster cycle. Implementing a lean manufacturing initiative lowers labor costs, an operational pain point, while reducing delivery time. 

The solution directly shortens the product lifecycle and provides a competitive advantage, accelerating growth. Power is happy. Labor costs are reduced. Operations is happy. Maybe the solution shaves a few steps off the manufacturing process, making users happy. Win-win-win.

Tie Solutions into Problems Power Needs to Address

To sell to Power, you must tie the issues solved by your solution into the problems Power needs to resolve. Once you do that, many operations and user pain points are addressed as well. 

However, if you went in the opposite direction and tried to show Power how you solve operational issues, you will have difficulty even catching Power’s interest. 

Power doesn’t know the details of operations and user processes and problems. Talking about them gets you relegated to lower levels of the organization, and you lose your opportunity.

Your sales cycle craters.

How to Identify Power’s Pain Points

Identify the Zebras in your customer base using your preliminary scores for your Zebra profile and Pushbutton Zebra. Next, interview your customer’s executives and ask why they bought from you. If you don’t know Power for an existing customer, identify them before moving on.

Note the pain points these executives talk about and how your solution resolved them. Then research your prospect to determine if they have similar pain points. Now you can easily show how your solution resolves pain for your Zebras. 


Power’s concerns are different from operational and user-level concerns. Learn Power’s pain points and show how your solution resolves them. If you only know lower-level concerns, figure out how to map them upwards.

You must sell to Power for repeatable, sustainable sales success. Use your existing customers to figure out Power’s pain points. 

In the next post, we start to show you how to identify patterns from your best customers that illuminate your specific Zebra’s pain points.


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