what do you know document itWe don’t always know everything we should in a sales situation. But in order to realize what you DON’T know, you must understand what you DO know. Why is this important? Because it will ultimately become your key differentiator in the eyes of your customer stakeholders and influencers. How you talk with your customer and document data gathered over time allows you to present solutions to them based on this information and show how valuable you are. Fill in your gaps of knowledge on any sales situation, get the full picture – and document it the right way.

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, 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