We’re in the age of American Idol, where the dream of becoming an overnight success as an entertainer has become widely discussed in popular culture. Not to be outdone, aspiring entrepreneurs hope to find investors, fame and fortune as a result of appearing on Shark Tank. For those of us charged with transforming the performance of B2B sales organizations, it’s easy to become enamored with the idea that one event can alter the trajectory of our success.
This is my 30th article for “Everett Hill’s Catalyst”, a blog about growing the top line. I’ve shared ideas ranging from leadership principles to sales strategy to sales execution, and the interaction of the three. My guide is an inner compass calibrated by decades of operating experience. The new book “The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think” is aligned with that compass.
In my last article I made the case for building your sales and marketing efforts on a strategic foundation using a compelling value proposition. It’s a crucial idea if you aspire to rise above the noise in your marketplace. Here I outline how to get this done.
Did you hear the one about Oracle’s third quarter conference call, announcing a substantial earnings miss? Wall Street did, pounding the stock the following day.
Unbelievably, Oracle leadership blamed its woes on newly hired sales representatives, saying, “Since we’ve been adding literally thousands of new sales reps around the world, the problem was largely sales execution, especially with the new reps, as they ran out of runway in Q3…We’re training the new reps on managing the sales process, and the importance of establishing a quarterly rhythm on their deals.”
Mile 25. “It’s still within reach,” I told myself, checking my watch as I approached the parking lot of the Pentagon. I pressed on through the agony that had been my companion for a full hour. This was my third attempt at breaking the magic four-hour barrier for a marathon. Despite dropping a critical 30 seconds at mile 22, I was hopeful I could fulfill my dream at the Marine Corps Marathon.
The monumental gridlock in the United States Congress nowadays would be amusing if there weren’t so much at stake. They just can’t seem to get anything done in a timely manner. Their struggle to execute reminds me of projects to select and implement major software such as CRM--all too often they fall short. Intentions are genuine and the resources appear to be right, but somehow the ingredients don’t gel to reliably deliver value to the business enterprise.
One of the common questions that I respond to from younger people in sales is how to know when to talk and when to listen and how to guide the conversation with a potential customer, particularly early on or at first meeting.