Critical thinking and intuition are two skills that are often overlooked in this information explosion. We often jump to conclusions with more certainty without testing our conclusions by standing back and questioning our assumptions in a broader context. Likewise, many have lost touch with our intuition, which I consider the barometer of veracity. I have been in business for almost 20 years, and still make mistakes when I don’t listen to or trust my intuition. Listening to your intuition saves you time in the research and competitive intelligence processes, and can help you qualify your sales prospects and deal with people authentically.
Another great analytical tool is personality profiling. Most often companies study their competitor’s management team or key employees such as the head of R&D. Usually their strengths and weaknesses follow them from job to job. It’s good to understand their predisposition; what mistakes they have made in the past; and what blind spots they might have. Don’t just focus on their professional experience as their personal life is just as important, and often highly influences their professional decision-making.
Recently I gave a webinar for SCIP chapters in Mercyhurst and Ohio on how to capture competitive intelligence from Sales by using cooperative intelligence skills. I love serving Sales Reps since I can easily translate what I provide into an ROI benefit, namely more sales. Serve Sales well and you will have job security even in a tough economy since they are the company’s revenue producers!
Many of us suffer from GDD or Gratitude Deficit Disorder. Who do you know who is a masterful “thanker”? So as we end 2011 and start a new year, think how you will communicate your appreciation. How can you catch people in the act of goodness or kindness?
I am always surprised that more companies don’t have a formal win loss program.
To conduct win/loss, interview your customers or lost customers shortly after the sales event to find out why they chose to do business with you or decided on a competitor. The data gathered combines knowledge from sales, customers, competitors, and your marketplace. Those companies that do win loss claim do improve their win rate by 15-30%. That’s a nice return on investment.
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, caring and expressing gratitude. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence and sharing, I recently was a panelist in an SLA Competitive Intelligence division (CID) webinar on “Integrating Marketing and Sales to Capture & Deliver Intelligence.” While this is an SLA CID member benefit, all four of us panelists posted our slides on Slideshare, which follow. Likewise we just concluded a series of Colorado Future Ready blogs on SLA’s FR365 site which features a blog a day. This blog contains the list of authors and links to each blog. Don’t forget to read the Thanksgiving poem, “Thanksgiving….More Than a Day by Karl Fuchs.
Win Loss Reviews is real-time intelligence collection from selected sales events. Author, Rick Marcet describes how he established a scalable win loss process using technology that hangs off Microsoft’s sales force management system. I particularly appreciate the psychological aspects Mr. Marcet weaves throughout this book to engage Sales as so many in marketing and competitive intelligence fail to motivate Sales to share! This book is a must read for anyone in sales management, marketing especially customer insight, and competitive intelligence.
Steve Jobs was a wise man who had the confidence to follow his heart, his passion, his instinct and was playful in his inventiveness. “Stay Hungry: Stay Foolish” which appear in the last issue of “Whole Earth Catalog” in the mid-1970s. Keep looking and don’t settle until you have found what you are passionate about.
Whether it’s for research, cold calling to collect information, competitive intelligence or win loss analysis, when you instigate a telephone call you are in the sales mode. You want information. This blog lists 18 tippers to improve your telephone collection skills.
While many people ask me to share the templates I have prepared over the years, when I conduct win loss interviews, actually it’s the upfront planning that matters more. If you don’t have all the salient facts around the sales situation or a good value proposition as to why the customer or prospect will want to talk to you, you’ll never get that communication off the ground!