Selling Bigger Band-Aids: Finding Pain Points that are Big Problems in Sales and Marketing

2 minute read

Work is full of mild annoyances, pet peeves, or the papercut under the fingernail, but these are minor everyday problems. Then there are the critical issues: bleeding wounds, ever-worsening friction burns, and chronic fatigue. These are fundamentally more significant issues. Over and over in sales and marketing, we discuss the Pain Points, Pain Funnels, Pain Threads, or even SPICED. Frankly, overuse of the term 'Pain' has lessened its impact. 

A difficulty is only a problem if something can be done about it."
- Speaking Truth to Power by Aaron Wildavsky

With overuse use of the word pain, the meaning has become blurred, which, in turn, limits our ability to deal with these issues. We need to relearn how to empathize with pain, so to refresh the concept of 'pain point,' let's rephrase. 

Where is your prospect bleeding time, where is the friction burn from space limitation, and where is the chronic pain of energy drain? 

Everyone has unique and highly specific pain points, but most can be bucketed into the categories of Time, Space, or Energy. Plena, for example, targets time by saving time spent manually searching out LinkedIn contacts. Plena targets space by attaching to LinkedIn Sale Navigator directly, with no new tabs. Plena saves energy by compiling information preventing salespeople from doom-scrolling without retention. 

In this blog, we explore why triaging the severity of the pain point tightens your sales cycle and how best to bucket the pain points across time, space, or energy.

Why the Severity of the Pain Matters

As much as I love a warm mug of coffee, I can work without an intelligent cup coffee mug warmer at my desk. I can work without Internet Explorer. I cannot work without my laptop. I cannot work without Gmail. 

If pain points are the wounds of our working life, let's address the hemorrhaging wounds before we deal with the paper cuts. A company calling 9-1-1 over a problem is primed for you to step in and help. This concept of urgency and response is the true measure of a selling cycle, and it is also the measure of a customer-product fit in B2B Sales. 

Always aim to solve the significant pains for your clients, not just minor annoyances. It is difficult to judge the scale of a problem externally. One way to think of it is to consider volume. When a large number of workers across a single company are affected by the same small issue, the overall volume of the pain is greater. 

Large companies are hunting for the 1% better solutions that, across their vast network, represent significant improvements in workflow and productivity. Minor continuous improvements have proven more effective for large companies' overall growth, change management, and cost savings. 

A small company rarely has the resources for a 1% better solution. They are looking for vast improvement and the solution to a sizeable chronic problem. Is your product fit for a 20% better solution for small companies? Or a 1-5% better for the large ones. This is fundamental to good customer profiling. 

When discussing finding pain points, you need to understand whether the problem is large or small. Not only from the management perspective but from the front-line perspective. Know user-level pain and how it translates to management's pain. This allows you to craft a compelling narrative for how your product or service solves the problem. 

Tactical Takeaways

  • Measure the scale of the pain point against the number of solution users in the target company.
  • Know your products. Is it a 1% solution or a 20% solution?
  • What is the user-level pain vs. what is the management-level pain?

The Severe Wound of Time - The Invisible Hemorrhage 

Time is a relentless one-way flow, a universal limitation. It is easy to casually say that our products save time or boost productivity. It becomes a standard bullet point, but why is time-saving so vital? And in what specific actionable way are you saving your prospect time?

For some, time waste is just the pinprick yielding a single drop of blood, the mild frustration your product might or might not alleviate. They might buy, but their engagement is likely to be limited, and that sale will take chasing. Some companies, however, are bleeding time. Their payroll is inflated by money being tossed away. Valuable workers are plugging away at meaningless scroll-and-click drudgery. In the more severe scenario, you and your product are not just saving the customer time. You are offering business first-aid. 

Time and efficiency are usually core problems for most businesses. Reframe your solution as not just time-saving but time-adding. You are putting time back into productive, value-add, money-making parts of a company's workflow. Word choice is impactful in sales.

If your prospect has a problem around time, focus on the value of that time. Be respectful and brief whenever possible. Focus on action items and takeaways at the start of each meeting instead of building rapport. If attainable, turn a 30-minute meeting into a 20-minute meeting. You are gifting them breathing room, which they will value enough to remember your conversation as a standout. Showing you value their time becomes part of the sales pitch. You value their time, and your product will continue that value proposition forward when they close with you.

Tactical Takeaways

  • Discover if time is your prospect's most prominent problem. 
  • Use positive language around time,' time add' or 'time save.' 
  • Shorten meetings and show respect for time, avoid 'chit-chat' with hyper-busy prospects who may be annoyed rather than flattered by it. 

The Severe Wound of Space - Friction From Crowding

Friction burns hurt, linger, and only grow worse without attention. Space limitations in a modern workplace are not just physical but also digital, specifically in the digital space workflow. Many software solutions can solve digital space workflow issues by being add-ons to existing systems. It is like painting a staircase rather than building a new staircase. Consider how your product integrates into a prospect's current physical or digital space workflow. 

The workflow from one software to another or jumping from tab to tab seems a tiny inconvenience to you as the champion of the product. Is it a tiny inconvenience to your prospect? Or is it a dreaded 5th or 6th work hoop for them to jump through daily? 

Understanding the digital landscape of a prospect's workflow allows you to draw a map for them. Through storytelling, you can show how seamlessly your product slots into their overcrowded space or eliminates obstacles. 

While rare, there is also the issue of too much space. Too large a kitchen is inefficient in movement. Too big a warehouse wastes time, energy, and space. Even too much digital storage capacity removes the need for organization and elimination of the unnecessary. The process of reviewing and deleting files and programs is often value add in both resurrecting forgotten good ideas as well as eliminating wasteful spending. Workflow improvement and usage optimizations often need a limit to push against to spark creativity and improvement. 

Tactical Takeaways

  • Discover if space/digital space workflow is your prospect's largest concern. 
  • Consider how your product transitions into the workflow.
  • Describe the utility and benefit of your product in the digital landscape.

The Severe Wound of Energy

An estimated 10-20% of car crashes are caused by driver fatigue. You likely know the warning labels on some meds: Do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medication. The perils of not just driving tired but working tired are coming to the fore in modern conversation. Energy drain can be related to time or even related to cluttered burdensome spaces (physical and digital). 

But in a real way, energy also touches on the spiritual and emotional portions of work. If you run into a prospect in low spirits, with minimal energy, it can come across as disinterest or negativity. Being able to read this correctly as low energy can save you from failing to pursue a good prospect.

The chronic pain of energy drain can destroy the morale of individuals, teams, and companies. It can be tempting to bounce in like a spirit day enthusiast and try to inject some energy into the dower crowd. In sales, we know the power of positive energy. However, a softer, empathetic approach and lower-key positive vibes are usually more compelling. In sales, we are taught to match the energy and join the prospect's wavelength to build rapport. However, with a low-energy prospect, it is best to play the supportive friend and sympathetic ear instead. A low-level cheerleading can be encouraging, but high energy contrasting their own low energy can be a turn-off. 

Tactical Takeaways

  • Practice reading the difference between fatigue and disinterest in a variety of people.
  • Respond to low energy with empathy and friendly cheer.
  • Avoid high-energy responses to low energy.


In conclusion, understanding and addressing the severity of pain points is crucial in sales and marketing. While minor annoyances exist in the workplace, focusing on the more significant issues that cause bleeding wounds, friction burns, and chronic fatigue is essential. The overuse of the term "pain" has diminished its impact, so it is necessary to relearn how to empathize with pain points.

We can categorize their unique pain points into Time, Space, or Energy. 

When it comes to bleeding time, recognizing that time is a universal limitation and reframing solutions as time-adding, time-saving, and time-creating is important. Showing respect for prospects' time by being brief and action-oriented can make a lasting impression and enhance the sales pitch. Save time by data gathering with Plena.

Space limitations, whether physical or digital, can cause friction burns in the workplace. Understanding a prospect's workflow and demonstrating how your product seamlessly integrates into their space or eliminates obstacles is persuasive. Save space by plugging Plena into LinkedIn Sale Navigator. 

Energy drain, which affects productivity and morale, is a significant concern in the modern workplace. Recognizing the signs of fatigue and responding with empathy and supportive energy can make a difference in pursuing prospects effectively. Save energy by allowing the mind-numbing search-copy-paste be done by Plena. 

By triaging the severity of pain points and finding if they are time, space, or energy, you can connect more strongly and faster with your prospects. This allows for effective targeting and crafting of solutions. 

Each day without Plena = Lost Sales

With Plena — list building, contact enrichment and scalable multi-channel outreach is a breeze.