There is a huge chasm between customers and our own sales and marketing initiatives. This is nothing new, yet it’s what keeps us from connecting with our customers and prospects.

It’s what causes our customers and prospects to shut down, ignoring our best efforts to engage them and sell them something (you can begin to see the challenge with that statement.).

The problem is pretty natural, but it keeps us apart. Simply stated, we care about what we care about and our customers care about what they care about.

Until those are aligned, until they are the same, there is no reason for engagement. There is no reason for the customer to talk to us or pay attention. There is no reason for customers to buy.

Yes, every once in a while a customer or prospect crosses over to our side of the chasm. They are well down their buying journey. They’ve defined what they want to do, they’ve done their digital research. They’ve narrowed down and figured out (or at least the believe they have) what they want to buy. Now, late in the cycle, they want to learn more about our products, services, and prices to determine whether they should buy from us, or one of the other alternatives they are considering.

If there are enough customers doing this, if we win enough of those at prices and margins that are acceptable, then we can achieve our business goals. After all, that’s really what we care about.

The problem is, in most organizations, this is never sufficient to achieve their goals. We have to go to the customers’ side of the chasm creating demand. But we have a huge disconnect.

In going to their side of the chasm, we haven’t changed what we talk about or how we engage them. We continue to talk about what we care about—our products and services, trying finding enough people willing to buy them to allow us to make our numbers.

I look at the messages coming across my desk, dozens of people every week saying “Here’s what we do and what we sell…” I look at the marketing and sales materials of clients and others I encounter. Millions of dollars invested in “here’s what we do and what we sell.” Yes, some of it is masked, it’s positioned in terms of “Here’s what we do and what we sell to financial services, to healthcare, to manufacturing.” Alternatively, “Here’s what we do and what we sell to CFOs, CMOs, Developers, Manufacturers, Sales.”

But the customers don’t care about what we care about. They don’t care about our products and services, even presented in the context of their industry or function.

Our customers care about what they care about. Until we figure out what they care about and start talking about those issues, there will always be a chasm between us.

Our customers care about want things different than us. They want to grow their businesses, they want to achieve their goals, they want to serve their customers, they want to beat their competition, they want to improve their business results. As human beings, they want to be successful, they want to have sanity in their lives, they want to enjoy what they do and contribute to their organization, they want to grow, they want to be successful. They may want to get their boss off their back, get a promotion or bonus, or even keep their job.

Until we discover what our customers care about, engaging them in talking about those things, there will always be a chasm between us.

What are you doing to cross that chasm?

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.