Even the smartest analytics teams are utilizing antiquated methods that don’t fully empower sales teams to go out and deliver for customers. These analytics teams are providing insights in the form of PowerPoint presentations and strategy documents, effectively‘throwing insights’ into their organizations and expecting sales teams to go out and use them. There is a missing final step here- a skill gap has to be bridged in which sales teams are enabled to apply those insights to their respective customer and buyer landscapes.
Translating what an insight means to a customer is critical in unlocking the value of analytics- otherwise, analytics teams are giving powerful data to salespeople with no means of direction. We see sales teams needing help with that contact strategy and then aligning it to the insights that they have. In short- we can give people powerful tools, but we have to show them how to use them.
Sales teams often adopt short terms behaviors which can immediately limit the impact of the use of insights with their customers. For example, being too product-centric and thinking about the next close. Don’t get us wrong; we want sales teams to win, but in the challenging and complex economic environment that they now face, they need to go further and provide foresight to their customers. Customers frequently ask for the ‘crystal ball’ and crave knowledge and understanding about a category or topic, as their own knowledge is a mile wide and inch deep. Sales teams often lack the confidence to adopt an insight-led sales approach, either due to legacy behaviors (product-centric mindsets) or a lack of a support system. This is where we come in- teaching powerful teams how to utilize powerful tools.
We have found through years of operating at the intersection of sales and insight teams that impactful and targeted stories – grounded in insights – are the fastest path to performance. We work to enable sales teams to move away from 250+ slide decks (I’m afraid we’re not joking here) and toward sharing a relevant and insight focused narrative – a meaningful story. This is most impactful in complex scenarios where one-way presentations simply don’t work, such as discussing an evolving consumer landscape or a wide strategic shift.
Joint Business Planning in many of the CPG companies that we support presents a great opportunity. Often, this customer interaction feels very one-sided with the team on the manufacturer side presenting ‘at’ the retailer. The “J” is missing from the process and customer teams (in this case retail buying teams) have wildly different interpretations of what a JBP is and is intended to do, so end up leaving with a limited understanding of the Category and the opportunities for innovation and growth.
Sales teams are also often too reactive in customer meetings; their organizations often do not give them the opportunity or necessary tools to plan and think strategically. We see time and time again a classic“Power Point scramble” leading up to the meeting- that is where the opportunity to build an impactful narrative and insight-led story starts to slip away.
Finally, the sales organization itself suffers from silos of insights and messages. Too often, shopper insights, consumer data, brand teams, and salespeople are all telling different stories. The customer walks away overwhelmed and the opportunity is lost.
First, we have a framework embedded in our technology called customer intelligence. The principals behind this come from my military intelligence career (see6 Co-Founder and CEO Graham Hogg spent eight years as a British Commando Intelligence Officer) and the research in my book Seeing Around Corners®. Essentially, it’s about thinking with the customer as the end in mind and linking to customer context topull insights together into a story. There is very little point sharing insights on a topic that doesn’t impact your customer or not allocating enough time to the topics that do, but we see this happen frequently.
Secondly, our technology provides a handrail to help sales teams build their insights-based stories. This removes the need for lengthy (and inconsistent) training, so they can rapidly build out a story prototype and share it with their peers for feedback in the moment.
Finally, we use Artificial Intelligence and Text Analytics to link these two elements – customer intelligence and insight storytelling. This provides immediate feedback to sales teams to help them quickly adjust their stories and then improve for that next meeting.
Having done this for some time with hundreds of teams, we are able to capture a good understating of what is working well inside the sales organization and share that value back across teams instantly.
We continue to learn with every sales team that we work with. That is going to keep us grounded and focused on improving our technology. As our team grows, we are committed to capturing new perspectives and bringing those to the market through our technology. Right now, we see huge growth opportunities in FMCG, Retail, and Big Tech sectors.
If you want to improve the way that your sales organization drives growth for your business, then its effectiveness of using the insights that you already have can be transformational. This starts with linking customer context to impactful stories.
“We are the partner of choice for sales teams. We enable teams to write impactful stories grounded in insight and uncover new possibilities”
“Our technologyinstantly upskills sales teams to help them connect insights to impactful stories.”
“We help commercial teams unlock value in their insights by focusing on the most relevant topics that show up every day for their customers.”
“see6 has seen many organizations struggle to connect their sales and insight teams in ways that enable them to then go out and powerfully utilize those insights in the field- and we know we can help bridge that gap,” says Graham Hogg, the Co-founder and CEO of see6.