Sales Transformation: Challenging the Status Quo


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Is your sales transformation stuck in a rut? Would you know it if you were? Enterprise processes and human behavior both love the status quo. Transforming the process of how you and your company sell has to be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) tasks in business. We all know that business evolves, and if we don’t adapt we risk falling behind. So why is it so difficult for people and companies to not only recognize that they can and need to change, but to successfully adapt to the new behavior?

Does your own personal history or that of your company play a role in why you are still doing something that is far less effective than a superior alternative? Are you even aware how an old paradigm can be influencing your current performance? What decision made years or even decades ago are still affecting you today? A little world history lesson may shed some light on what I mean.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in Scotland, and Scottish expatriates designed the US railroads. Why did the Scottish build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did the people who built the pre-railroad tramway use that gauge? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that were used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in Scotland, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

Who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including Scotland) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since. And what about the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Bureaucracies and old habits live forever….

So the next time you are handed a specification/ procedure/ process and wonder, “What horse’s ass came up with this?” you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two warhorses.

Now, the twist to the story:

If you look at a photo of a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, on each side of the main fuel tank there is a large booster rocket. These are solid rocket boosters (SRB). SRBs were produced by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the worlds most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of two horses’ behinds.

I tell you this story to illustrate a point. There are some things you and your company continue to do that may be long overdue for a significant overhaul. Times have changed and what worked for you or your predecessor in the past may be holding you back and keeping you from achieving success at a level you can’t even yet imagine.

So what are some of the things you and your company do that could be holding you back? Are you still worrying about getting past gatekeepers or trying to learn closing techniques? Are you still using an SFA system that tracks your pipeline activity but doesn’t help you sell? Are you bogged down with sales training classes that waste your time? Are you stuck using a sales methodology that your last Sales VP brought with him when he joined the company, do you know why it was chosen at his last company? Was it the best way back then or maybe one of his close friends was one of their trainers?

If you have been in sales for any length of time you know that sometimes companies make terrible choices, and they make them for all the wrong reasons. Is your sales performance a victim of a bad choice that someone made a very long time ago, do you want to perform better and achieve more?

There is a better way to engage with your customers and prospects. There is a better way to achieve higher levels of long lasting sales performance.

Take the first step and download our Sales Transformation whitepaper then call Axiom Sales Force Development at 800-933-8503. We’ll help you shed some of those tired, old, outdated and ineffective habits and get you on a new track to an unbelievably successful future.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ed McAdoo
Dynamic, top-performing sales leader with a well respected career record of success directing business development, sales operations and marketing initiatives in highly competitive channels for rapidly expanding enterprises. A unique combination of deep CRM expertise, cutting-edge sales methodologies, and industry best practices synthesize to skillfully perfect sales force effectiveness and productivity.


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