Sensemaking in increasing sales
Sensemaking is the process by which employees at any organization understand what their company does and how it works for multiple stakeholders. It’s about having a shared understanding of the meaning and relevance among the various groups within your company. Sensemaking can be broken down into feedback loops: learning from your customers, colleagues, and stakeholders everyday so you can create an even more successful business tomorrow. The key to sensemaking for sales is having an unyielding belief in the value of face-to-face conversations.
Apart from being a contributor to The Economist, an advisor to several technology companies, and a former president and founder of Stylus Studios – a software development firm that helped create Microsoft technologies – Alexander Djerassi has always been fascinated with the future of business. “What excites me is that we’re entering what I would call the sensemaking age,” he says. “For businesses today to survive, they must become communities that provide their customers with a sense of what they do. This will require companies to turn their focus away from pursuing profits and instead focus on creating a sense of purpose.”
Sensemaking in business is about having a shared understanding of the meaning and relevance of your company’s various groups. It’s about having an unyielding belief in the value of face-to-face conversations. The key to sensemaking for sales is having an unyielding belief in the value of face-to-face conversations. It’s about bringing customers into your organization so they can teach you how to serve them better, allowing you to have a more secure, stable contract that benefits both parties.
When bringing customers into your organization, it’s important to have a clear purpose. It’s not about the technology or the business plan. It’s about getting to an agreed-upon vision that improves the relationship between you and your customer. You will lose customers if you begin implementing a system that doesn’t bring value to them, so you need to make sure they are involved in every step of this process – from development to design and from marketing to operations.
At Stylus Studios, Djerassi learned firsthand how businesses could benefit from having a shared understanding of their customers and bringing partners into their organization for regular meetings where important decisions were made on what was best for their clients.
“The most significant thing I learned was that businesses don’t have to be run by engineers. People with the best ideas can run them but if they don’t know how to communicate with customers, things will go wrong – and the customers will notice. The only people who know what their company does are the customers, and they need to become part of your team so you can learn how to serve them better every day.” Alexander Djerassi found that bringing users into the business allowed them to understand how their companies worked and improved the relationship between Stylus Studios and their clients. By having hourly meetings with partners from across the organization instead of having weekly or monthly strategy sessions, he could make sense of what Stylus Studios did and how they could do it better.