Expert's Panel

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    What are some good tools for acquisition of soft market data? So often the customer tells you what you want to hear and not what they really think.

  1. Focus groups can be really helpful for stimulating customer conversation that comes when intimidation is absent. This means you get unbiased information. Donít use your sales force because they are lied to all day longóby the customer, by product marketing, by production. Get independently facilitated soft data retrieval.
  2. In the five companies in which I was VP of Sales and Marketing, I found the number one best source for soft data was the field service and application people. They hear what the customer really thinks about you. The second source is baseball, football, basketball, and ballet. We would take customers and their spouses to all of those events. You get high level people out in a more social setting, away from the salesperson, and they begin to talk to you about their real concerns. The third isónever pass up an interview in your life. When someone leaves one of your competitors, interview that person, whether you have a job available or not. They will give you very valuable information about what other people think of you.