As I look at the plethora of tools we leverage to engage customers and each other, I worry. While they are intended to help us accomplish more. They are intended to help us, make us more efficient, eliminate some of the work we have to do, Instead, I wonder if they are dumbing us down.
We have tools that present everything about the customer to us—the financial performance of the company, performance relative to the market, key issues facing them and their customers. While we have information about them and their performance that took time to develop years ago. But we struggle with understanding what it means and how to use it our conversations with customers.
We may see an organization’s growth is subsiding, profitability is declining, competition is increasing, they are losing share, increasing debt. But we can’t connect the dots to what that means to the prospects we are talking to in that organizations. We struggle to articulate how our solution may help address these challenges. We know the customer will have to do this in getting support from management, we struggle to connect how we help address the business problems/challenges impacting organization performance.
We have all sorts of insights, data from research our companies may have done, data from the experience of our customers using our solutions, data about things impacting the markets or our customers’ customers. We can present the insights, but when the customer asks, “What does that mean to me,” we can’t answer the questions. We don’t have the ability to dive deeper into the conversation.
We have tools that script our conversations or emails or social engagements; but struggle because our customers seem to have a different script.
In the spirit of productivity and efficiency, we’ve dumbed things down so much, it leaves each of us dumb. We aren’t equipped to leverage these tools as powerfully as we can, we aren’t equipped to engage our customers in the conversations these tools are supposed to help us with .
Since we’ve never done the work in developing these insights, we don’t have an ability to understand what they mean.
There’s a difference between the insights we develop in doing the work, versus being given the answers. Doing the work develops our understanding of the issues and what they mean. Doing the work enables helps us think and analyze. Doing the work develops our understanding of what the customer faces, and how to most effectively connect with them.
And doing the work, enables us to exploit these tools much more effectively. We understand, more deeply, what the data means. We understand how to apply it, we understand how to leverage it most impactfully with our customers.
All this stuff that’s supposed to be helpful is actually dumbing us down. Let’s actually start doing the work!