Excuse or Great Idea: How to use customer contact through sales as a listening post for NPD and business growth
4 November 2014
Excuse or Great Idea: How to use customer contact through sales as a listening post for NPD and business growth

We pay our sales people to deliver sales; in doing so, reports from the field such as ‘the prospect didn’t like this’ or ‘if it had that they would buy’ are quickly labelled as excuses for not winning business. At the same time we ask our product development teams to go into market to better understand the customer in order to deliver better products and services and improve the customer experience. Aren’t these two closely aligned?  

MSM Sales Specialists and Locus Research decided to delve deeper into this question at our most recent event 'Excuse or great idea?: How to use customer contact through sales as a listening post for developing new products and improving your business'. The presentation shared how to weed out sales excuses from valuable feedback and using this, together with product research, to drive stronger, more profitable product development, faster.

The Presentation

Here are the MSM Sales Specialists key takeaways from the event:

  • Better questioning is the key to minimising sales excuses
  • The SWEET questioning process is one of the most effective
  • Management set the expectations
  • Opportunity to involve product development across the sales cycle
  • It’s often easier to have sales people take ‘what ifs’ to market initially rather than minimum viable product or concepts

The full presentation can be seen below:

Here are Locus Research's key takeaways:
  • Plan your research to generate ideas
  • Context is everything – a conversation can change your perspective irrevocably
  • Combine analytical, humanistic and creative approaches to create a 3 dimensional picture
  • Have understanding and empathy
  • It does not stop at the start – keep developing your understanding and document everything

If you would like to the content from Locus research presentation, visit their blog.

Want to attend MSM's Sales Specialists next event?

We will be holding a series of events in 2015 -  to stay up to date, connect with us on LinkedIn on the MSM Sales Specialists Company Page.

Got a question for MSM's Sales Specialists or Locus Research?

If you have any questions about the content in this blog, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dan Hansen ( from MSM for sales queries or Timothy Allan ( from Locus Research for product development queries.  

We would like to extend our thanks to our event partners:

This post was written by

Dan Hansen - who has written 16 posts

Dan has in excess of 20 years experience in sales management, general management and commercial strategy. Dan's focus is on delivering increased profitability to clients through the development of effective sales strategy and focused execution.


MSM Sales Specialists helped us to evaluate our products over a period of months and create a robust sales strategy that has helped us enter new markets.

Connor Brady, Managing Director, New Life Global

Network and Partners

Export New Zealand
New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
UK Trade & Investment
Manufacturing Advisory Service
Callaghan Innovation