Our jobs, as sales and marketing professionals, is to drive change. We can only do our jobs when our customers decide their current state is unacceptable. They need to address new opportunities, they need to solve problems, they need to rethink and do things differently.
Often, customers incite themselves to change. Perhaps it’s problems, perhaps competitive threat, perhaps it’s being opportunistic. Sometimes there is a visionary leader that provokes that change.
Sometimes, it’s we that incent the customers to change, whether through our content at our websites, our customers talking to others, or our prospecting.
Our ideal customers are those that want to think differently, that want to do something new, that think they can improve.
They don’t settle for the status quo. They don’t settle for the way they’ve always done things, they are compelled to look at something new, to challenge their own thinking and practices.
Perhaps, it’s the “shoemaker’s children” syndrome, but I always find it amazing that when our success is based on the ability to incent and support our customers’ change initiatives, we seem to be content with settling.
I don’t know how many conversations I get in where:
- We are happy with win rates less than 30%, focused on achieving our goals through greater volume.
- We don’t get the results we need from our prospecting programs, so rather than rethinking and redesigning those programs to resonate with prospects, we double down on doing what isn’t producing results by doing more volume.
- We know we are best when we focus on our ICP, yet to make the numbers we cast wider and wider nets, pursuing people and organizations far outside our ICPs. We try to make our numbers not through improving focus and value, but through doing what
- We know we can leverage technology to help improve the efficiency of our people, yet we don’t use the tools ourselves and accept very low compliance/utilization of the technologies we pay for.
- We know coaching is one of the highest impact uses of management time, yet the average manager spends less than 30 minutes a week in coaching activities (in total).
- We know for training to “stick,” we have to continue to reinforce it, integrating it into our processes. Instead, we continue to spend millions in training that is forgotten within 30-60 days.
- We know that customers are hungry for help, they need sensemaking, and that they look to sales people for that help, but we don’t develop the capabilities of our people to provide that help.
- We know that onboarding and time to systemic success requires 9 or more months, we know the subsequent sales cycles may be 9-24 months, yet we accept average tenures of 18 months.
When we consider it is unacceptable for our customers to not change, we settle for what we’ve always done, even when it doesn’t produce the outcomes we want.
Perhaps, we would help ourselves, our organizations, and our customers, if we stopped settling……