By Dave Brock
This post is the tenth post in my series on Sensemaking. Like the previous two posts, this focuses on how you apply the principles of Cynefin in your sales strategies with your customers.
For links to the other posts in the series, go to: Sensemaking, The Big Issue Facing Both Our Customers And Us.
In the previous posts we looked and how the “context” or domain your customers may be in will change depending on where in the organization of the functions that you engage. As a result, our organizational strategies, our engagement strategies, the skills, competencies, tools, content, processes will have to change to be aligned with the part of the organization we choose to target.
Likewise, at all levels, things change over time. As a result, we need to look at where we and our customer are, how things are changing, and align what, with how, and how we engage with our customers–engaging them where they are at.
We live in a very dynamic world, over time, things change. What was new and innovative in the past, has become commonplace or even mundane. Problems and challenges that seemed to have been insurmountable 5 years ago, may be well understood and easily addressed today.
In the Cynefin model, over time and experience we see a clockwise movement of problems, issues and challenges. As we gain collective experience and knowledge of things that were Complex, many may move into the Complicated. Problems that had been Complicated may move into the Simple. Likewise, disruption may occur in our Simple context, throwing everything into Chaos. (Disruption can occur with any problems in any context.)
We are actually quite familiar with this concept in another context. If we look at the product/market maturity curves made famous by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing The Chasm, we can see how Cynefin contexts can be mapped to his model.
How we engage customers in identifying issues and solving their problems changes based on where they are in this model.
Understanding this becomes very useful across several areas:
- Our targeting strategies. Depending on customer/problem maturity, our targeting strategies are very different. Innovators and early adopters will have the mindset, skills, disciplines, risk profiles to address complexity far better than laggards. As we, ourselves, seek to position solutions to challenges that are in the complex domain, we have a lot to test and learn ourselves. Consequently, we want customers that are anxious to collaborate in understanding. As our, collective, experience grows, the issues move into the complicated domain, and we can expand our markets to customers that have the characteristics and abilities to address and manage challenges in this space. And it doesn’t make sense to engage the laggards until the problems are moving from the complicated to simple contexts.
- Beyond our targeting strategies, the buying difficulty becomes different from stage to stage. As a result, our engagement strategies, and the skills/competencies we need in our sales teams change as we move from context to context. This goes beyond just our people, but impacts the tools, programs, …read more
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