If you’re in sales I'm guessing you’d tell me you’re all over your customers, right? You know the key 10 business challenges for each organisation, where they’re focussing budget and resources and the key decision makers you need to get in front of?
Most salespeople talk a good game on ‘knowing your customer’ (they sell for a living after all!) but after leading hundreds of account reviews experience tells me if I scratch beneath the surface the actual picture they have of their clients is pretty hazy.
I was no different when I started out in Sales. I had a great work ethic and big ambitions. I could get a foot in the door of most organisations but when I look back I had no idea if I was meeting the right people and with a limited understanding of their business I wasn’t prepared to ask great questions. I talked lots about our business and our products, listened very little about them and their needs and came away almost as poorly informed as I'd gone in.
It wasn’t long before I came to realise that my job wasn’t to be a talking website but rather to be an investigator, someone who truly gets under the skin of a client’s business before going within a thousand miles of some bland pitch.