Decision making at big B2B companies is often skewed by anecdote and myth: A worried report from the most vocal salesperson about a competitor’s latest move; a customer complaint that happened to be fielded by a senior executive. 

Author Rob Markey (@rgmarkey) explores a concept that anybody who has had to interact with sales and marketing (especially in small business) knows all too well: How do we make decisions about what’s actually going on with our customers.

The real challenge comes when the number of customers you serve is comparatively small.  When one customer makes a move, how do you know all the other customers aren’t far behind.  In most small businesses I’ve been a part of, the idea of keeping up with data regarding what’s happening in your customer base is an almost impossible task to comprehend.

Personally, I find separating customers by logical groups (states, cities, buroughs) and taking a sampling of them makes the most sense.  It might be customer business types for your team. Either way, I find that similar customers are influences by similar things, and are more likely to make changes based on what their colleagues are doing.

Run B2B Sales on Data, Not Hunches

Decision making at big B2B companies is often skewed by anecdote and myth: A worried report from the most vocal salesperson about a competitor’s latest move; a customer complaint that happened to be fielded by a senior executive. The flow of one-off stories often has outsized influence on how senior managers shape the firm’s interaction with customers.