As quarter-end approaches, some reflections on what we’ve learned recently with implications for next quarter:
1/ ‘WHY’ IS THE KEY TO GAINING ACCESS
In general, we’re seeing vendors with a sharply defined WHY gain access to new leads faster, and more predictably, than those who lack a clear WHY (or at least one that matters to their buyers). Simon Sinek’s TED talk on how great leaders inspire action adds amplitude to this notion. His points explain how great salespeople inspire change. We’re seeing our most saavy clients now defining the outcomes their buyers are looking for, by job title, and mapping these outcomes back to the WHY of an offering. It’s not only opening doors more often; it’s revealing new doors they would never have thought to go knocking on.
2/ OLD HABITS DIE HARD
Most of our clients are dealing with revenue uncertainties. They’re selling new products. They’re entering new markets. They’re trying to hit their revenue targets with the help of new Sales Reps. When faced with such uncertainties, we’re seeing an enormous temptation for firms and their salespeople to persist with past practices. It’s comforting. They’re returning to familar ground even as they navigate new ground. Old habits die hard; this cycle of comfortable conformity impoverishes learning and, when things go poorly, it drains passion. Overcoming them requires personalized learning that seeds a courage + curiousity to try new approaches. Coaching helps. Coaching with fast feedback on what’s working and what isn’t working REALLY helps.
3/ THE FAST PATH TO SUCCESS IS PAVED WITH FAST LEARNING
One of our clients has had great success building his business in Canada. He’s now making his 1st moves into international markets. In the space of five days, his team learned the value of testing + adjusting their sales practices with the help of fast feedback on the buyer actions triggered by sales efforts. Three days into one of their new markets, they could see they were getting skunked. Buyers were completely ignoring them. They pulled back from that new market and took the same tactics into a more familiar Canadian territory. By the end of their 5th day, they’d proven: they had a messaging approach that worked well in Canada; AND they need a different messaging approach in their new market (what’s got them to where they are today isn’t going to get them to where they want to be in a year’s time). As Victor Chang notes, in uncertain times firms with the fastest decision cycles – firms able to adapt faster than others – will be the winners everyone else notices thru gains in market share.
The learnings continue.
Bring on Q2.