Delivering Insights to Customers – What Happens Next?

The CMO and Sales VP were reviewing their latest programs to make sure their people were 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 insight offered a unique point of view, helping the customer think differently about the business. Each insight was tailored to a specific persona. The work was good. I asked, “What happens next?” They looked at me. “What do you mean?” they asked. “Our sales people deliver these insights early in discussions with customers.” I responded, “After they’ve delivered the insight, what happens next?” Too many organizations have this problem when 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 with, “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 they say, “We have a different view on that…” Any one 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?”

About the Author

Dave Brock

Dave has spent his career developing high-performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. As a consultant, Dave is recognized as a thought leader in sales and marketing, new product introductions, and strategic partnering. He has researched, written and spoken extensively on these topics. Dave has honors degrees from the University of California at Berkeley with a BSME and from UCLA with an MBA. He speaks frequently on business, sales, leadership, and related topics. He is featured in publications including Selling Power, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.

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