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Infusing Customer Insights into Your Sales Operation

See if this sounds at all familiar…

Someone in your organization reads The Challenger Sale. They have a revelation about how using customer insights could help overcome many of the challenges their sales team experiences every day. They share their revelation with others on the team and, in short order, a plan of action is devised:

  • The book is distributed and everyone is encouraged to read it.
  • Some time is set aside at the quarterly sales meeting to discuss it.
  • An example slide deck is developed and used for demonstration.

Then…nothing. Nothing happens. Nothing changes. This powerful concept becomes nothing more than the latest “shiny thing” to fill a slot in the agenda.

I have to confess that this has actually happened to me. I’ve been that naive “someone” described in the vignette above. And that’s why I was so excited about this month’s Expert Interview for the SellingBrew Playbook…

In the interview — “Making Insight-Based Selling Less Challenging” — John Thackston of the SOAR Performance Group discusses how to get beyond the basic concept and build a real operational capability around insight-based selling. And not surprisingly, there’s a lot more to it than simply reading a book and scheduling a meeting.

The skills can absolutely be developed. But the approach for developing them is a bit more comprehensive than most people think.

In additional to highlighting the common problems and how to avoid them, John goes on to detail the approach that they’ve found to be effective, breaking it down into three primary components:

  • Connection — Connection to your own internal processes and systems, and connection to your customer’s business environment and situation.
  • Conversation — Making sure that your reps possess the business acumen to participate in meaningful and relevant dialog with your customers.
  • Community — Developing an ongoing, collaborative environment where people can share their experiences and learn from each other.

In our 40 minute conversation, John graciously shared a ton of useful information and insight. There were so many things I wish I had known a few years ago. But had I known these things back then, I might not have the cautionary tale to tell today.

How’s that for a silver lining?

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