Mike Kunkle (@Mike_Kunkle) is a training and organization effectiveness leader with special expertise in sales force transformation. His blog, MikeKunkle.com, provides proven practices, ideas and commentary around sales transformation and development.
Having read an article of his on insight selling, I followed up with some questions to get a deeper understanding of his opinion on the current B2B sales landscape in light of recent trends.
Mike diligently responded with enough thoughts and reaction or not just one, but four blog posts. This is the first of the series.
How do YOU define insight selling and why is it important in the current B2B sales landscape?
MK: Good question. Let’s approach it this way. I define “insight” as data, knowledge, expertise or a point of view, that when shared, has the potential to create interest or open the listener’s mind to see things differently.
Selling with insight, then, is the use of relevant, compelling insights in sales conversations to improve sales effectiveness. Often this means using insight to gain credibility, create interest, generate a deeper dialogue, and eventually, provide a more compelling rationale to take action with your solution. In a perfect world, the insight and ensuing conversation would further illuminate a challenge or opportunity or foster a dot connection between those issues and the solution.
Insight selling isn’t new. Professional services and consulting firms have been doing it for years. I think it’s getting more mainstream attention now for a variety of reasons:
In some cases, buyers are doing a lot more research on their own, often digitally, and aren’t engaging sellers as early as they used to.
Buyers’ expectations for sellers are increasing. Data from multiple analyst firms’ research indicates some version of “the inability of sales reps to communicate value is a significant growth inhibitor.” (While I agree there’s a communication gap, I worry more that many reps can’t create value – which is a bigger problem than not being able to articulate it.) Forrester’s research indicates that a surprisingly low number of senior execs are pleased with initial sales meetings and an even lower number are willing to schedule a follow-up meeting.
Buyers are busier than ever, running lean, and facing significant business challenges (economic, environmental, regulatory, budgetary, and others).
A painfully large number (I’ve seen ranges from 28% to over 60%) of opportunities end in a stall – “No Decision.” In some cases, the status quo is more of a threat than competitors.
There are probably other factors, but these jump to mind as some of the key reasons insight selling is important in the current B2B sales landscape. It’s not a silver bullet though, and isn’t easy to learn and scale. And I haven’t even mentioned one critical fact yet – you actually need to have insights to share! But done well, it can change the game, elevate the conversation, and provide a competitive advantage. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
Stay tuned next week for Mike’s thoughts on insight selling and the B2B buyer’s journey. For more insight from Mike, visit is blog on transforming sales results at MikeKunkle.com or follow his posts on LinkedIn.
For details on how Brainshark helps reps have more productive, successful sales conversation, take a tour of the Brainshark Sales Accelerator.
Mike Kunkle Q&A Series