Leading Through Insight

The internet of things, big data and access to information at the click of a button mean we are awash with more information than we have ever had as sales leaders.

This often revolves around our customers, contacts, categories, competitors, channels and the market place within which we operate. However as Hammervoll & Toften (2013) research uncovered, information is just a hygiene factor these days within ones customer relationships, a given, it’s what is done with the knowledge and information that’s important.
A large FMCG, industrial organisation and medical devices business all introduced an approach into their customer management that focused on; the development of knowledge to insight. The aim being to differentiate and develop the relationship through strategic value adding insight based on knowledge developed from within the organisation. The strategic insight provided a platform for mutual value creation and developed a key differentiation within the relationship that the competition was unable to match due to a lack of organisational knowledge to insight.

In essence a strategic insight is a “hidden truth to value creation” one the customer / competition have been unable to see or spot. To ensure a level of consistency to insight generation within the commercial teams each company introduced a version of: ‘What? So What? and Now What?’, to the information and organisational knowledge. Over time this approach has become organisational sales / customer management muscle memory and a natural way to extract sale leadership insight for the organisation.
Given the ability of these organisations customer management teams to define strategic insight about the market, category, channel and customer they play an increasingly important role within the development of marketing strategy.

Within these organisations sales bring the insight and voice of the customer and channel with marketing bringing the voice of the consumer and end user and customer marketing the category and shopper. They have a key role within the strategic planning process and development of marketing strategy due to the level of strategic insight they can offer into the progress.
Sales ability or effectively translate knowledge into insight and develop strategic value add moves them from transactional to pro-active and strategic relationship developers. The rigorous application of; What? So What? and Now What?, demonstrates a level of objectivity and common platform for consumer and customer marketing to work with.

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