By Dave Irwin, Founder & CEO of Polaris I/O
Today’s post pandemic digital environment is being reshaped in ways that have had a profound affect on businesses; where people work, how people work, and whom they work for to name a few. The great reshuffling, the great resignation, working from home, job changes, inflation and a prolonged concern over health, well-being and safety are changes we couldn’t have conceived of a couple of years ago.
When there is change it accelerates the effect of VUCA; (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) making it more difficult for people to navigate business relationships – especially at a distance. The old ways of doing things are gone. The traditional business needs of companies have changed. The factors affecting customers are different than they used to be. Multiple executives have commented about how sudden the changes happened and how they have remained far more permanent than originally anticipated.
Enter the importance of intuition. In our business we focus on working with companies to incorporate a go to customer approach vs. a go to market approach when it comes to key account relationships. The reality of the world is that customers are in one place trying to overcome new challenges from both a business and personal perspective, and suppliers are in another place trying to sell what they used to sell in terms of products and services – and the two worlds aren’t aligned. Both worlds are complex, but the divide only grows greater as executive buyers do more research on their own, make their own decisions without supplier input at all and are addressing different business problems than existing vendors may even know about in the first place. Linear, go to market approaches to meeting customer needs no longer work the way they once did.
Today’s environment requires an outside in view of the world and the ability to adapt to changing conditions on the ground while navigating an interconnected set of individual people involved in a group that are making decisions based on their own needs and perspectives. How do you navigate this complexity virtually? This is where intuition becomes incredibly valuable, but it requires that people shed their biases – which run very deep, listen carefully to key stakeholders, be more open to what’s possible and above all else, lead with curiosity and empathy vs. pre-canned solutions of the past.
An outside in view combined with curiosity and empathy enables one’s instincts to kick in – like sensors monitoring rain on a windshield, intuition is a natural human trait that can be activated with greater intelligence when the right information is getting to you. As you can imagine its incredibly valuable when engaging with buyers in solving their problems. The more you know about what’s important to those involved in solving a problem, the greater position you are in to follow your instincts more in how, where, when, why and with who you should be spending time. You will intuitively know what path to follow in a way that would have been undiscoverable before – because the right information is getting through to the “sensors” of intuition.
This is a major success factor in “Go to Customer” as a new approach to growth with key accounts. It’s knowable to find out what they need and think, it’s the internal biases and natural blockers to listening and hearing what’s really being communicated that we find to be the primary obstacle. As humans we are all naturally intuitive if we allow the sensors to work with the right information. And in today’s world, that is more important than ever before.