A Year Old Sales Best Practice Probably Isn’t


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If the sales practices you use on a regular basis are the same ones you were using last year or 2, 3, 5, 10 years ago, they probably no longer deserve the “best” label. Don’t get me wrong, just because something is not a “best” practice doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not an “excellent” practice. A bronze medal in the Olympics isn’t best, but WOW, MOM, WOW anyway!!! Do not dump your habits wholesale just ’cause they’re getting a bit old.

What I’m advocating here is a healthy and relentless skepticism about what is or is not literally “best.” Progress is relentless. Competition is relentless. Our quest for continuous improvement must therefore also be relentless.

Not that I’m the poster child for this concept. I’m not holding up the following example as some earth-shattering proof of my genius. It’s just an example I’m really familiar with, since I lived it. Back in January, 2001, I decided to launch a monthly e-newsletter. Don’t laugh, back then it was pretty bleeding edge stuff. I got a good bit of grudging recognition, a boat-load of kudos and some actual business. It was indeed a “best” practice. Was.

Then the spam police emerged and I had to add all the double opt-in procedures. Double opt-in was, in its time, a genuine best practice. It’s been demoted now to a “you’re a moron if you don’t use it” practice.

Ditto for html-format newsletters. Ditto for “if you’re having trouble reading this click here.” Ditto for links to a “best” practice landing page on your web site embedded in the e-newsletter. Ditto for 50 other things.

These days, a coordinated attack with a blog in the vanguard supported by a special landing page on the web site, opt-in e-newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter and highly targeted “watch this video” e-mails are a best practice in my world. Some of you read that and giggle at its quaintness. Others of you read that and wonder what the hell I’m talking about.

That’s my point.

“Best” is relative. Best for you? Best for your company? Best for your industry? Best in the world? Best today? Best this year? Best for whomever, whenever?

Whatever you’re doing… No matter how good… It ain’t good enough. Never. Ever.

Related posts:

  1. “E-Rep” Best Practice

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Todd Youngblood
Todd Youngblood is passionate about sales productivity. His 3+ year career in Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Consulting has focused on selling more, better, cheaper and faster. He established The YPS Group, Inc. in 1999 based on his years of experience in Sales Process Engineering – that is, combining creativity and discipline in the design, implementation and use of work processes for highly effective sales teams.


  1. Todd, thanks for the reminder that “best” is a moving target.

    Theoretically, a “best practice” is a method that is more effective than any other. The problem is that when most everyone adopts this practice, there’s no competitive advantage to using it, just a disadvantage for not using it.

    And I’ve noticed that the term “best practice” is thrown around pretty casually, without any real research to back it up. In many cases, it’s a synonym for “a pretty good idea” or a “common practice.”

    The problem with best practices is that they are follow-the-leader. Best practices are determined by industry leaders and innovators, and then everyone else rushes to copy them. The result: parity.

    Meanwhile, the leaders are off developing “next” practices that truly differentiate their organizations.

    So, yes, adhering to “best practices” help keep from falling behind, but only by searching for “next practices” can you get ahead.

  2. Todd,

    Thanks for saying this, it just needed to be said.

    Love this: “”Best” is relative. Best for you? Best for your company? Best for your industry? Best in the world? Best today? Best this year? Best for whomever, whenever?”


    Mitch Lieberman

  3. Bob – Thanks for the feedback and more importantly the additional insight. It’s pretty humbling to think that by working hard at executing “best” practices only means I’m keeping up with the pack. – Todd

  4. Mitch – Thanks! How about a quotation that fits the message?

    “We will pursue perfection knowing full well that we will never reach it. But we will pursue it. And in doing so we will achieve excellence.”
    Vince Lombardi


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