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What you DON’T know in a Sales Situation

What you DON'T know in a sales situationShouldn’t we know what we know? And, by knowing what you know, can you then identify what you don’t know in a sales situation? Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but the answer is a definite “Yes.” Get the full picture by filling in your gaps of knowledge based on the given sales situation. A key differentiator can be how you document the data gathered over time after talking to your key customer stakeholders and influencers. You’ve been there before. You and your team have done a ton of discovery and qualification with your prospect or customer. The data gathered can reside in people’s heads, on paper, in a PowerPoint, or in a sales enablement tool such as Revegy. But if nothing is written down and everyone keeps that knowledge only in his or her heads, then how does that help the rest of the team? Everyone may share what they learned, decipher it through their own lenses based on their past experiences, and figure out a strategy going forward. However this method can be very haphazard and slip shod when establishing ongoing plans based on what you remember or scribbled in your notes. If you were to document what was gathered – on paper, in a PowerPoint or in a sales enablement tool – then you all can review the cumulative data gathered, collaborate based on our own lenses, interpret the data, and determine what you don’t know in a sales situation. A visual representation of the relationships (roles, preferences, strength of relationship, influencers) and what each key stakeholder and influencer is trying to accomplish (goals, strategies and initiatives) is certainly more useful than a verbal download in order to:
  • validate the information we gathered with your customer
  • provoke other ways of thinking – ways that our customer may not have even thought about based on your knowledge of other customer successes and/or industry trends
  • collaborate with the customer – filling in holes of what you don’t know
Think about this the next time you are with your sales team. Reflect on how the data gathered over time is represented and determine if you have a good grasp on what you know – and, more importantly, what you don’t know in a sales situation. Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeJanice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter     Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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