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Customers Only See Their Part Of The Problem

by David Brock on February 1st, 2016

In today’s complex B2B world, we know our customers struggle to solve their problems, along the way, perhaps searching for solutions to solve their problem  From the Challenger Customer, we know roughly 5.4 people tend to be involved in the process and we know the majority of these initiative end in No Decision Made.

As great consultative sales people, we work with each of the 5.4 to identify their needs, priorities, and requirements.  We demonstrate how our solution will help address each of those, hopefully convincing them to favor our solution.  Again, from the Challenger Customer, we know that doesn’t help bring the group to a decision, in fact it may hurt us.

Part of the challenge is customers, each individual, tend to only see their part of the problem.

It’s pretty natural, everyone is focused on their own function.  Each person, each part of the organization has their own goals.  As people identify problems, challenges, or even new opportunities, they tend to look at them from their own perspective.  They only see their part of the problem or opportunity.  They see how it impacts them, they begin developing ideas of what they want to do to address it.

However, in most organizations it’s never that simple.  Complex problems don’t tend to follow organizational or functional lines.  They cross the boundaries and silos we’ve created.  But human nature tends to focus us on our own jobs and functions.  People may be blind to the impact of the problem in other parts of the organization.  They may also be blind to the fact that things they do, actions they take have an impact on other parts of the organization.  Unwittingly, they may be doing something that adversely impacts parts of the organization they don’t deal with directly.

Or from an isolated perspective, the problem isn’t big enough or important enough.  “I can live with it, we don’t need to change……”

But when viewed across the organization, the problem may be crippling!

Yes, when one moves out of the departments, the functions, or silo’s the impact of problems across the organization may be more visible.  But again, until you reach the top of the organization, people tend to be consumed with “my job, my department, my function….”

Sales people have the opportunity to make the entire problem visible to the customer.  We can pull people together, helping them understand the impact of problems (or opportunities) that cross boundaries.

Great sales people, will incite the organization into action, helping the group to declare, “We can no longer operate this way, we have to change!”

To do this, we can’t just deal with one “buyer,” even the representative of a group.  They will struggle to see the whole problem–it’s never their job to do so.  We have to search out and engage all the people impacted and align them into taking action.

Are you providing this leadership to your customer?  Are you helping them see and understand the whole problem?  Are you inciting them into action?

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