When you think about it, sales people have an awesome amount of freedom–but also a huge amount of personal responsibility. In many senses, we really are entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs run their own businesses. They have goals, translated both to financial (revenue, earnings, growth), and strategic (share, market visibility, brand reputation, etc.) They develop strategies and plans to achieve their goals, invest in resources (people, facilities, capital, etc.) to execute the plans.
Great entrepreneurs are relentless, driven, disciplined and focused. They make no personal excuses, and focus on optimizing the deployment of resources and performance within their organizations.
Being an entrepreneur gives one a great source of freedom, great accountability (which great entrepreneurs revel in), and responsibility. Success or failure is really in the hands of the entrepreneur.
Sales is a lot like this. Whether one works for a large or small company, we are given relatively large amounts of autonomy. Our companies entrust us with a “patch.” It could be an account, collection of accounts, industry segment, or geographic territory.
It’s up to us to maximize the results produced in that territory. Yes, our companies give us quotas and goals, but like great entrepreneurs, we really want to maximize our penetration, share, growth in the territory.
Our companies also entrust us with resources to leverage in producing results. They may be pre-sales specialists, support people, marketing people (with programs), customer service and others. They also provide us tools, programs, and other resources we can deploy as part of our plans and strategies. We have to use these resources well to maximize our achievement in the territory.
While our companies may provide us various levels of “guidance,” about our strategies for growing the territory and maximizing our results, it really is our job to figure it out. It’s our job to develop the strategies and plans, lead the execution to produce the best results.
Finally, and perhaps best, to customers, we really are “the company.” While we may have armies of people supporting us, we are the face and voice of the company. We are the people they work with everyday. We are the people they are entrusting to help them achieve their goals. We are the people accountable for the commitments our organization makes.
Within our “patches,” or territories, we are the company. We are the entrepreneurs running our companies and maximizing our abilities to achieve our goals.
Can you think of anything more fun or challenging? (At least business wise.)