Earlier this week, I participated in a series of reviews with a sales team. Each sales person was presenting their key deals and what they were doing to win. I was uncomfortable in much of the meeting, but had trouble putting my finger on what was causing my discomfort.
Somehow, as I listened, I felt many of the folks were being too short sighted in their strategies. As they presented, they focused on what had just happened in the last calls and how they would respond next. I couldn’t see where they were going in the process, and what they were doing to maximize their ability to win over the entire sales cycle. As I questioned them, they were increasingly frustrated with me. They were so focused on what had happened and reacting to that. As I asked them what they would do 2-3 steps down the line, they tended to respond, “I don’t know until I get there, I need to focus on things right now.”
Reflecting on this, I realized the sales people were focused purely on tactics—it was like watching a ping pong match. The customer would hit the ball, the sales person would respond, things kept going until someone missed. Sales people act then react–almost taking a random walk through the deal. The problem is, you lose sight of where you are going, take a lot longer time getting there, and increase your risk along the way.
The highest performers think several steps ahead. They know where they are going and the steps they must go through to get there successfully (Kind of sounds like a sales process, doesn’t it?). They blend their tactics and execution with their overall strategy to win the deal as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best sales people are “Tactegic.”
Being tactegic means first having a strategy. The sales process is the foundation of that, but not the end point. Top sales performers, use the process as the foundation for the deal strategy. Top sales performers then execute that strategy,, adjusting what they do, based on the outcomes of meetings, new information they get, competitive response, and many other things. But it’s all done within the framework of their strategy.
Reflect on what you are doing. Do you have a deal strategy in place? Are you adjusting that strategy based on the results you achieve in execution? Are you keeping focused on the end goal, or just responding to what happened last? Are you being merely tactical or are you being tactegic?
(By the way, like the sound of tactegic, think I’ll apply for a trademark)