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Getting By Or Getting Ahead

by David Brock on January 8th, 2019

Most mornings, I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. I get up, look at my news feed reading blog posts on sales, sales management, marketing, business management. I spend a few minutes looking at conversations on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sources.

Day after day, month after month, year after year, it’s the same thing.

I’ve been actively writing this blog since 2007. Go back to those older posts. You will find that I talked/ranted about the same issues in 2007 that I am currently ranting about.

I’m sometimes embarrassed, at the bottom of each of my posts, you will see a list of a number of related articles. When you click on them, I’m addressing the same issues time and time again.

My friends, Tim Ohai, Catherine Shalk, and I were recently in a conversation. Tim asked the question, “We know the right things to do, but why do we consistently fail to do them?”

You can apply that question to virtually anything we do in sales and sales management (perhaps even in business).

We know we are supposed to be customer focused, but we focus on our priorities.

We know we are supposed to be problem finders/solvers, yet we pitch our products, letting the customer figure out if they need them.

We know we are supposed to create value with our customers, but the customers don’t see us creating value.

We know we are supposed to focus our prospecting on our ICP, but, if we prospect we reach out to anyone we can reach.

We know we are supposed to develop and maintain high quality pipelines.

We know we are supposed to align our selling process with the buying process.

If we are managers:

We know we are supposed to coach and develop our people, yet managers spend fewer than 2 hours a week, total, coaching.

We know talent is critical, that we are supposed to hire, onboard, and develop our people to maximize performance, but we settle for what we get.

We know we are supposed to help remove barriers to our people’s performance, improving their ability to sell and increasing their time available for selling, but we put in place rules and procedures that take their time and get in their way.

We know we are supposed to develop “performance driven cultures,” yet the data shows year after year of declining sales performance.

Whether we are sales people or sales leaders, we know what we are supposed to do, yet most of the time we fail to do it. If we try, we give up too soon.

What keeps us from doing what we know we should be doing?

Sadly, despite all the things we say, I suspect rather than getting ahead, all we want to do is get buy.

There are some few organizations, leaders, and people that are different. They are what we call high performers. They aren’t really that different from the rest of us.

They know what they are supposed to do–just like all of us.

Where they are different, they do it, they learn from it, they improve.

And the rest just watch, knowing what they should be doing, but ……

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  1. It’s amazing how many folks can say they understand exactly what you are talking about – and still not do it. Sigh.

    But it reminds me of the starfish story – where the boy was throwing stranded starfish back into the ocean on at a time because “it mattered to that one.”

    Let’s keep throwing starfish, Dave!

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