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“This Is The Way We Have Always Done Things…..”

by David Brock on February 16th, 2022

I was reading a LinkedIn conversation between a number of people I really respect, though sometimes I’ve been known to disagree with them.

This particular conversation was about SDRs, with one person saying, “SDRs have always been an entry level position and always should be.” Another person was suggesting, “But it’s one of the most difficult roles, particularly if we expect them to engage senior level executives. We set them up for failure, we should staff SDR roles with more experienced people.” Those who have followed me for some time know my $500K SDR experience.

This conversation is an example of too many conversations. It’s usually between very smart, thoughtful people. But whenever the statement, “This is the way we’ve always done things….” enters the conversation, there’s a problem. Sadly, this limits our thinking and limits our ability to change, grow and improve.

Thinking that, “SDRs are always entry level positions…..” “AEs always do this….” “This is the process we have always used….” is dangerous thinking—particularly, when we see the results we produce decline.

Doing more of what we’ve always done, particularly when what we’ve always done is no longer working is just dumb. We commit ourselves to failing through continuing to work the way that we have always done.

We live in a world of constant, accelerating change. In fact, it is because of this that selling exists. But this constant change demands that we continue to reassess, rethink, redesign, reinvent everything that we do.

We have to challenge our thinking about:

  1. How we most effectively engage customers, from inciting them to change, to finding new opportunities, to how we support them in their buying process?
  2. Is our Ideal Customer Profile changing? Are we continuing to focus on the right customers, both enterprises and individuals? Should we be narrowing our focus, or changing it?
  3. As customers, increasingly, look to different channels during their buying journey, where/how do we create the most value? What do they tell us is most useful in working with them?
  4. What types of capabilities do we need to drive success? What talent, skills, tools, processes, programs do we need? Do we need to redefine roles and structures to more effectively engage customers?
  5. What are the new buying workflows, are we aligning our workflows to complement these? As much of buying is expanding to include digital buying, are we building our capabilities to support this?
  6. What are the most effective/efficient organizational structures we need to engage our customers?
  7. As we look at the complexity our customers face, what skills, capabilities do we need to help our customers make sense of this?
  8. What metrics are most critical to track now? What metrics are no longer useful and should be abandoned?
  9. What are we currently doing that we should stop?
  10. and……..

A red flag should go up in your mind whenever you hear, “This is the way we always have done things…..” Inevitably, it’s an excuse for failing performance and demands reassessment.

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