Insight Is Not The End, It’s The Beginning


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There has been so much good discussion on Insight over the past few years. Everyone tends to have a different point of view–or twists what Insight is to support their own point of view (and I am probably guilty of that). But in reading a lot of the discussions, I get a feeling that Insight is becoming the destination.

If we, sales people, just had the right Insights, pitched/messaged the right way to the right customer, we’d have the answer to ever B2B sales person’s dream—the one call close. If we give the right teaching pitch, the customer will immediately pull out a PO and say, “I gotta buy some of that.”

Too often, I see well intended product, marketing, and sales people trying to come up with Killer Insights. I see them constructing and rehearsing artful “white board pitches,” (boy I wish I could draw those neat pictures), building compelling stories–but not preparing people for the conversation.

In truth Insight is the starting point. Our Insights should create a dialogue or conversation. It should begin a collaborative process, where we and the customer evaluate what it means for them. As Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson point out, Insight should evoke, “I’ve never heard that before,” or “We’d never looked at it that way,” or “I’ve never considered that.” If our Insight doesn’t start a conversation, we have failed. If we can’t sustain the conversation, we have failed.

Our purpose with Insight is not to demonstrate how bright or provocative we might be. It’s not to embarrass or shame the customer (or ourselves). It’s not to make the customer feel stupid.

Our purpose with Insight is to Disrupt the customer.

We become prisoners of our own experiences, we settle into patterns, we become unconsciously blind to things going on around us. Or we settle for the status quo because it’s easier than anything else. Or we become complacent–we’re doing well, we don’t recognize we can do better or that we may be blindsided by someone doing even better.

We go back to fundamentals. Selling is about change. We are trying to get our customer to do something new, to do something different, to change suppliers. We have to create the reason, the excitement, the incentive and the justification to change. No one changes for change sake, we change because we want to achieve something and that change enables us to do it.

Insight is the beginning. It’s the means not the end. It kicks things off.

We need to provide that Insight, we need to Disrupt. But we must be prepared to lead the customer on the next steps of the journey.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


  1. Dave: I saw this on a sales training PowerPoint slide somewhere: ” . . . during the discovery phase of the sales process . . . ”

    That jumped out at me, because it seems a weird way to partition things, and begs the question, “does discovery stop or become less important once you have reached that boundary?”

  2. Great observation Andy! In my experience, discovery continues–with some of the most significant “discoveries” coming in implementation.


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