The Sense Making Seller

The best sellers succeed by making sense of information for customers

An abundance of good information

Today’s customers have access to high-quality information and rely less on sellers for data and insights across a purchase. This buying environment places significant pressure on sales leaders to evolve how they influence customer purchase decisions. It is essential to figure out what sales strategies win, when customers are doing so much of their learning independently

A pie chart showing the distribution of buying groups' time by key buying activities. Meeting with potential suppliers occupies 17 percent. Researching independently online occupies 27 percent. Meeting with buying group occupies 22 percent. Researching independently offline occupies 18 percent. And other occupies the remaining 16 percent.
We’re specifically looking at how we enable our buyers to progress in their decision process. In fact, Gartner is helping us to think through what that looks like in terms of our organization and what that looks like in terms of the tools and process that we use to enable them.

Jenny Lee

VP, Global Sales Operations and Strategic Initiatives, Ellucian

Sellers win with the Sense Making sales approach

Optimizing your B2B sales strategy to increase customer confidence, and lower skepticism of sellers and their claims, is critical to sales success today. The Sense Making sales strategy increases the chances of closing high-quality, low-regret deals by connecting customers to relevant resources, clarifying information complexity and collaborating in customer learning.

Insights you can use

The winning formula for closing high-quality, low-regret deals is to increase customers’ confidence in information and reduce their skepticism of sellers. Heads of sales must adapt sales strategy to help customers navigate, prioritize and make sense of available information.

The world is crowded with good information

Customers are awash in good, evidence-based, highly credible information from suppliers and other parties. Discover how improvements in data and analytics, thought leadership and sales messaging have resulted in high-quality information that informs most B2B purchases.

Pie chart showing that 89 percent of B2B buyers indicate that the information they encountered during the purchase process was of high quality. Neutral occupies 7 percent while Disagree occupies 4 percent.
Bar graph showing the impact of information quality and volume on winning a high-quality, low-regret deal.

Too much good information has negative impacts

Buyers, overwhelmed by information, are struggling to make purchase decisions, and this indecision trickles down to suppliers. 55% of customers say that making informed trade-offs between vendors and their capabilities is difficult based on the information encountered during the buying process.

Bar graph showing the impact of information quality and volume on winning a high-quality, low-regret deal.

Sellers take one of three approaches

In response to rising customer demands for information, sellers respond by taking one of three distinctive sales strategies to information sharing: Giving, Telling, or Sense Making.

An illustration showing three selling approaches to engaging customers with information. Giver: "I can get you a lot more information on that." Sense Maker: "There is a lot of information; let me help you make sense of it." Teller: "Let me tell you what you need to know."

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Gartner sales experts

Gartner’s sales experts span the globe to support sales leaders with their most important initiatives, no matter where they are. Meet a few of our leaders. 

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Brent Adamson
Distinguished VP, Advisory

Doug Bushee
Senior Director Analyst

Brian Cain
Senior Principal, Advisory
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Scott Collins
VP, Team Manager
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Tom Cosgrove
Director, Advisory
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Matt Dudek
VP, Team Manager

Cristina Gomez
Managing VP
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Shayne Jackson
Senior Director Analyst
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Rick Karlton
Managing VP
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Danielle Mckinley
Director, Advisory
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Nick Toman
Group VP

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