The CMO and Sales VP were reviewing their latest programs to get their people delivering insight to their customers. They went through a series of provocative issues and insights—each tuned to a specific set of problems and challenges. Each offered a unique point of view, helping the customer think differently about the business. Each was tuned to a specific persona. The work was quite good.

I asked, “What happens next?”

They looked at me, “What do you mean? Our sales people deliver these insights early in discussions with customers.”

I respond, “After they’ve delivered the insight, what happens next?”

This is the problem too many organizations have in developing and delivering insight. They focus on the insight itself and not on what happens next. The insight becomes the end, not the means.

Insight is just the start of the process of engaging the customer. Insight is supposed to teach and provoke a reaction from the customer. Too often, we don’t think about the reaction and we don’t prepare our sales people to deal with it.

Ideally, the customer responds, “Tell me more…..”

Possibly, the customer says, “That’s BS! I don’t buy that…”

Or they might say, “That’s not important to us…..”

Sometimes it’s, “We have a different view on that….”

Any of those responses is fantastic! It means we’ve engaged the customer in the start of a conversation. The challenge is, have we equipped our sales people with the knowledge and skills to continue the conversation?

Training and equipping our people to deliver insight is meaningless—in fact dangerous, unless we equip them to deal with the question, “What happens next?”

They have to deal with the customer response, they have to deal with the customer that may disagree or pushback, they have to be equipped to engage the customer that has a different point of view.

Insight is very powerful in engaging our customers and helping them think differently. But it’s the starting point.

The key issue is, “What happens next?”

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
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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.

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