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Drowning In Information, But Where’s The Knowledge Or Insight

by David Brock on April 13th, 2018

Those of you who know or follow me know I’m an information junkie.  My Evernote file contains 15000 notes, all coded and tagged so I can put my fingers on any piece of information I want.  Daily, I get feeds from all sorts of services, several provide me information and news on people and companies I’m following.  Service like LinkedIn keep me updated with activity of people I’m following on LinkedIn, I have my special Twitter groups.  I have a couple of services that provide me briefings on the people I’m meeting with through the day.

This morning, it was helpful as I spoke to a client/friend, I knew his company had just closed on an acquisition–something he’d been deeply involved in.  I got extra credit points in the call by congratulating him on the acquisition.

On top of all these tools I leverage, I have a number of Google Alerts set up to keep me updated with key things happening with industries, markets, or with people I’m tracking.

I don’t suffer from any lack of information or news about things that I’m tracking.

But the issue comes up, what do I do with all of this information?

Well, I already have part of the answer, I use the information to help me identify potential opportunities for me to help my clients.

Something happening with a client’s competitor or in their markets gives me an opportunity to call to discuss the impact on them and how I might help them leverage it to their advantage.  Or a poor quarterly report may indicates revenue challenges–I immediately raise my hand, thinking that I can help.  Or a job change, a restructuring, any number of things give me clues of areas where clients and prospects may be struggling, that I can help.

Many of you might say, “Wow that’s fantastic, it must really be helpful…..”

It is, it helps differentiate what we do and how we engage.  We are able to intercept opportunities much earlier, even incite our clients to do something different.  It’s a process we carefully curate and refine over time—-but we figure it out ourselves.  We’ve become so attuned to looking at information in a certain way to spot the clues and figure things out ourselves.

That’s the good news and the bad news.  We are tremendously advantaged in our ability to scan lots of information to find potential opportunities, but we have to do the work ourselves.  We get the information automatically, but nothing tells me, “Dave, here’s a prospect having a problem that you solve, and here’s an analysis of the impact you can have on that problem….”

It’s ironic, with all the capabilities of analytics, all the promise of AI, while I get lots of information, I’m not getting the knowledge and insight that says, “Here is a potential opportunity, here’s their problem, here’s how you’ve helped others in addressing it, here’s a rough magnitude of the impact you can have on their results.

At least until now.

I just got my first “SMART Company Brief” from DecisionLink.

It’s an awesome document–I get these for our major accounts.  It provides an in depth analysis of the company, including things like:

  • Fast facts on them and their performance.
  • Key industry indicators, challenges, and trends.
  • Recent headlines/news about them
  • A peer competitive analysis, showing how they perform relative to their competition and how they are positioned versus  best of class, average and worst of class.  The competitive analysis goes further, looking at share trends with their competition.
  • It gives me their top executive names and titles.

But most importantly, there are a couple of pages that tell me, “Here is a potential opportunity, here’s their problem, here’s how you’ve helped others address it, here’s the potential impact you might have.”

For example, one of the areas we have great impact is improving close rates.  My SMART Company Brief tells me, “Based on your work with similar companies on similar issues, you should be able to improve their close rates by X% and if you do, you can improve their revenue by Y%.

I’m provided the complete analysis and an analysis of the impact we might have over 3 or so years.

For the companies we are tracking through DecisionLink’s SMART Company Brief, I not only get the information I used to collect from various sites, it’s assembled into a single package and it tells me how I can leverage it in my first prospecting call.

It enables me to provide deep insight in the very first conversation. I can say:

  • Here’s how you have performed relative to your competitors.
  • Here are the issues and challenges you and they may be facing.
  • We believe we can help you address them, potentially improving your win rates by X% producing Y in incremental revenues over the next 3 years.

This is the first tool I’ve seen that just doesn’t dump a lot of information on me, leaving me to figure out what it means.  It provides me suggestions and analysis on the impact we might have.

The interesting thing is our clients love it.  Most of the time when I call someone walking through this analysis, their immediate response is “Tell me how you came up with those insights……”  We’ve started a conversation and DecisionLink provides me the tools to engage the customer, modifying the analysis as we get better insight into their strategies, problems, priorities.

If you are looking for a way to sort through the information overwhelm, if you are looking for a way to engage your customer in insight specific to them, take a look at DecisionLink and their SMART Company Briefs.


Afterword:  Truth in advertising, I’m on DecisionLink’s Board of Advisors, so I’m biased.  But they aren’t paying me anything for this and I would be an enthusiastic user of their tools even if I were not on their Board.  I just believe in what they are doing and can’t imagine any seller of complex solutions not leveraging this tool to help the bring more value to their customers.

 Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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