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What Does “Insight” Mean In 2019 And Beyond?

by David Brock on October 10th, 2018

The concept of providing our customers rich insight has become “standard” for complex B2B selling for at least the last 7 years.  Some of us have been doing that all our careers-without knowing that we are providing insight.

There are lots of definitions around what insight is, but most of them tend to be around concepts of “commercial insights.”  These are generally stories and data around things happening in our customer’s industries and markets that may impact them.

For example, improvements their competitors may be seeing through implementation of a solution or new approach to their businesses.  They may be shifts in competition or markets that may be threats or opportunities to our customers.

They may be more closely focused on our customers’ businesses–problems they are having, opportunities they may take advantage of, and so forth.

Generally, these insights focus on catching the customers’ attentions, helping them identify opportunities to change or improve, and helping incite them to change.  They focus on the business and potential outcomes.

Ideally, a commercial insight provokes the customer into saying, “I cannot afford not to change, my current state is unacceptable.”

But these commercial insights are no longer sufficient to help our customers move forward, and, presumably , do business with us.

Increasingly, I think we need to adopt a much broader view of insights.  We can no longer focus on just commercial insights, business outcomes and results.  We must expand our concept of insight to “buying insights.”

Research from Gartner and others show customer struggle to buy.  53%, or more, of buying initiatives end in “No Decision Made.”  Buyers struggle internally, aligning more people in the buying process, starting stopping, going back to the beginning, struggling.

The buying journey is no longer linear, if it ever has been.  It’s squishy and chaotic–consider the diagram below this post.

Buying insights become critical to helping the buyers navigate this through this chaos.  They help buyers make sense of what they are doing, how to move forward and what they want to achieve.

Without this help, the buyers will never get to the end–they will never achieve the outcomes our commercial insights had projected.

If we and our customers are to be successful, we and they must look at insight much more broadly.  We must master commercial insight, inciting them to change, but most importantly, we must master buying insights–enabling them to effectively, efficiently, and successfully navigate their buying process.

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