I suspect it’s human nature to constantly be in search of short cuts. We want to get a desired outcome without doing all the work one would normally have to do to achieve that outcome. I continue to imagine, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could achieve my desired level of fitness, without having to go to the gym for an hour every day! Imagine how I could waste that time doing something else….” Or, I tend to be an impatient driver. I always “know” the fastest rout to an unknown destination, consequently I ignore my Nav System. I appreciate her patient voice saying, “Dave you are making a mistake, are you going to pay attention to me?”
Tim Ferris made hacks and shortcuts a badge of honor and fun with his “4 Day Workweek.” (I did get a lot of value from the book.)
In work, we constantly look for shortcuts. Some of the time is we are overburdened, we need to find a more efficient way of doing things. Sometimes, we need to compress the time to results. Right now, for instance we are mid way through Q4, and we are struggling to meet our Q4 and Annual goals. As a result, we are looking at any hack that enables us to get those goals…… Your customers are just waiting for you to come to them with those deep discounts. They know ‘Tis the season of deep discounting, fa la la, fa la la, ….”
And too often, it’s our laziness, we just don’t want to do the work, but we still want the results. We know we should follow our sales processes, they represent our best practice in creating value and winning business. Too often, it’s tedious and we skip all the upfront part, going straight to pitching and asking for the order. Or we don’t do our homework, understanding the customer, their business, and what they want to achieve. Why waste the time, once we get the order, we’re on to something else.
Technology has become our savior. It does all the work for us, we can just sit back waiting for the results to roll in. Need to prospect, all we do is turn the dial on the number of emails to send. “Let’s see, it takes about 1000-1400 touches to find an opportunity, I need 50 opportunities…..I’ll dial up 50,000-70,000 emails, ChatGPT will do the research an personalize them….. They’ll be out by noon, the responses should start coming in by 2:00…. I might be able to get out of work early today….. And if I don’t get enough opportunities, I can do a new sequence tomorrow…. All I have to do is push the “Go” button to produce the results….
We have endless tools and hacks focused on helping us be more efficient, reducing the amount of work we have to do.
But, they don’t seem to be working.
Customers aren’t responding, and when they do, they don’t want to talk about our products. They waste our time talking about their problems. We just have to feign interest, smiling and nodding our heads, then asking them, “When do you think you will order, we have great discounts this month, you won’t see them next year….”
Our managers are pushing us for orders! Then they look at our pipelines, saying we need to fill the pipelines. Better dial up the emails to 100-140K tomorrow. And rather than qualifying the response, I’ll just put it into my pipeline as a real opportunity….
Since our customers don’t respond, we have to do more and more work to get the right number of responses.
But then, once we get those responses, qualify some percent of those (When will they create a bot to do that?), we only win 20% of those.)
Let see, I need to close 10 deals by the end of the quarter, I need 50 in my pipeline, I qualify 33 percent of the responses to my outreach, that means I need to get 150 responses to my out reach, that means I need to send 140-210K emails…… (Don’t worry, sellers don’t have to figure this out, there’s a tool for that.)
But at the end of the day, with all these shortcuts and technologies, we know around 40% of sellers will make their goals…..
But that’s not a problem, rather than trying to understand why they don’t make their goals, rather than training and coaching them to improve, it’s far easier to fire them and get a batch of new people to do the same thing all over again. After all, trying to diagnose and fix these issues tough and takes time. Far easier to bring in fresh meat….
But then we look at that small number of high performers. They use the same tools and technologies as everyone else, but somehow they get more out of their use of them. They have the same sales process–and they actually use it, working helping the customers understand and solve their problems. They engage their customers in rich discussions, helping build their confidence.
And then when we look at them, they have much higher win rates and deal sizes, so they don’t need as much in their pipelines to make their goals. That enables them to spend more time focused on helping the customer buy. And those customers seem to want to work with those sellers. They don’t seem to struggle as much to get meetings, they don’t seem to be ghosted as much.
What these sellers have done differently is focused first on their effectiveness—doing the work that produces the best results. Then they look at, how they might do the work more efficiently—but they always do the work.
Maybe they’ve discovered the shortcut that beats all other shortcuts—doing the work.