At its core, Sense Making is a less-is-more approach, where a rep takes the time to help a buyer cut through the noise. If they first endeavor to understand a buyer’s unique situation, your salespeople can deliver the right info, story, and/or data for that buyer at that moment in time. As such, Sense Making helps you collaborate and coalesce in a way that increases the chances of a high-quality, low-regret buyer decision, which should always be your sales goal.
This supports Gartner’s additional assertion regarding Sense Making, and that is:
Sellers need to operationalize it—by making it a habit. That starts with determining the appropriate seller intervention, and corresponding buyer dysfunction, for each buying situation via the following steps:
- Problem Identification
- Solution Exploration
- Requirements Building
- Supplier Selection
In fact, Gartner says, “information needs vary across the buyer’s buying journey. Sellers must adjust their approach to information sharing to the stage of the buying journey.”
Making Sense Making a habit
Our perspective on Sense Making is twofold:
- Sense Making is not new; it’s an acknowledgment of, and term for, good sales hygiene. Chances are good that your high-performing salespeople are already consistently helping their prospects and customers with Sense Making.
- Sense Making is a set of behaviors that you need to establish and replicate—and for which you need to create a criteria for usage.
As such, Sense Making fully aligns with our thinking around sales agility, which is the notion that a single methodology simply does not work across all buying scenarios. Information needs vary according to each unique situation, and the way buyers navigate the stages of the buying process vary significantly based on the nature of those buying situations. In the meantime, each buying situation absolutely has a best-fit selling approach, one most likely to lead to a win. So, both the type of information you use and the way you communicate it to your buyer will differ. Moreover, they should reflect your individual situation and the corresponding best-fit selling approach.
To reiterate: the best-fit selling approach is unique to each company and must be based on data—not opinion. So, you have work to do to help your salespeople be effective sense makers. To execute with appropriate precision, you need to dig deep to:
- Identify the specific situations your buyers face.
- Identify the right sales approach for each situation
- Establish how to run the play that will win