This article was originally published on the Gartner website and written by Hank Barnes, Chief of Research.
For nearly every job, there is a literal or figurative playbook that guides planning and execution. In some cases, the plays are executed regardless of the situation (or the situation is highly controlled–which effectively defines the plays to be used). But more often than not, particularly when engaging with customers and prospects, the choices of plays need to be adjusted based on the situation. Effectively, you need an audible–a switch to a different play that is more likely to succeed in that context.
But we often don’t think that way. We define plays and expect them to work for every situation. It’s (in American football terms) like trying to run up the middle against a defensive with all their men in tight. You might break free, but it is highly unlikely.
Recently, I was briefed by Michelle Vazzana of VantagePoint Performance. VantagePoint is a sales consulting and training firm that has done some research in conjunction with Florida State University. They discovered something that doesn’t surprise me at all. The top sales performers call audibles–they adjust their approach depending on the customer situation (you can start to explore their research here.
This reinforces something we have been saying for a long time. You have to work to understand your customer’s situation so that you can tailor your response for it. The response could be by marketing, via digital interactions (a new form of personalization?), or sales. It sounds hard, but actually, it might be easier. Just like trying to run up the middle against a tightly packed defense is hard, but throwing a quick pass to an uncovered receiver that results is easier.
There are many dimensions to a customer situation. The Florida State/VantagePoint work defines several categories, but here are the ones that are top of mind for me:
Read the full article: https://blogs.gartner.com/hank-barnes/2021/07/06/calling-audibles-adapting-to-changing-situations/ 11