From Scarcity to Abundance of Data

Salespeople were the primary source of knowledge about prospective solutions for their customers in the "good old days," say 10 years ago. Customers and prospects sought out salespeople to learn about new solutions, market trends, and what other companies in their industry were doing.

Customers also sought knowledge from other sources, such as networking with others, conferences, trade journals, research firms, consultants, and so on.

However, obtaining this information, particularly high-quality, reliable information, proved difficult. Customers frequently expressed a need for more or questioned the quality of what they were receiving.

“Is there anything else we need to learn, what are we missing that could be important?” they wondered.

Now, fast forward to today, and the scenario is completely different. The pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Our customers are inundated with data!

They have a wide range of information sources. The majority of it may be accessed via electronic means.

Other forms of learning and information have supplanted salespeople as the primary source of learning and knowledge. Customers will find these more accessible and, in many cases, superior.

Customers don't need to talk to salespeople if they can receive the information they need from these digital and other sources.

Salespeople who can only talk about their products face a genuine difficulty, since they become redundant in the process. We need to identify new topics to discuss with clients and new ways to add value.

Customers, on the other hand, have had a significant problem as a result of this. They have an excessive amount of data, some of it contradictory, and the most of it is of very good quality.

They are afflicted by information overload. They are attempting to make sense of the avalanche of information.

What matters the most to them? What should they pay attention to?

What do they do with it when it comes to difficulties or situations that are special to them?

Customers require assistance in determining what information they require, what information they should disregard, and how they will go through and prioritize what they have learned.

Great salespeople can assist the customer in sorting through the information, determining what is most important, and making sense of what they have learned.

However, salespeople must know more than their products and services in order to assist customers in making sense of all this information. They must comprehend the customer, their business, and the goal they are attempting to attain.

They must assist the customer in navigating all of the information and translating it to the customer's unique circumstances and objectives.

Rather than being a "source" of information, salespeople become sensemakers, assisting customers in determining what is most relevant and meaningful to them and guiding them through the process of accomplishing their objectives.

What are you doing to assist your customers in dealing with an overload of information?Thanks to Dave Brock at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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