Everyday, we get pummeled with LinkedIn Surveys asking us “What’s the most important thing…….” Everyday, people doing “research” post surveys asking us to express our views. We’re given a few choices.
They are on all sorts of things:
- Prospecting, doing deals, or something else….
- Where we prioritize our time….
- Focusing on the numbers or something else….
- Insight or pitching or something else….
- Which technology is most important, CRM, something else…..
- Which activities are important…….
- Customer focus or……..
- Current customers or new customers…..
- Telephone, email, social media, or something else….
- Revenue or orders or ……..
- Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry….. (OK, I invented that one, it has nothing to do with selling, I’d answer either Coffee or Green Tea ice cream).
The objectives of these surveys often don’t seem to be to learn, too often, they are intended to promote a certain point of view. Some even give you the “right” answer before they present the survey.
The reality is every one of these surveys is presenting us a series of false choices. We don’t get to choose one thing over another, we have to do the whole job. We have to prospect, manage deals, build qualified pipeline, build relationships with current customers, acquire new customers, create differentiated value, …….
Alternatively, the right answer is “it depends,” though that choice is seldom offered. But situations change–both the way our companies prioritize things, differences in our customers and how they prefer to buy, differences that are situational and contextual.
We seem compelled to identify the “one thing,” the silver bullet, that if executed well, we achieve all our goals.
It’s not just a challenge with LinkedIn surveys. Within our own organizations, we tend to try to identify the “one thing.” Too often, it’s just more–more of everything, more activities. If we do just the right prospecting, everything works out. If we retain our current accounts, we are OK. If we had the right products/content/programs, we’d close deals. If we had the right prices….
The problem is it’s never one thing. It’s everything we do, it’s doing the whole job–not just part of it. If we focus only on prospecting, not also improving our win rates and deal sizes, we aren’t performing our best. If we focus only on our current customers and not on acquiring new customers, we will struggle to grow.
We are dealing with complex, intertwined systems, and focusing on any one part, means other parts suffer, and eventually everything comes crashing down.
It’s so much easier if we could just focus on the “one thing,” the reality is we have to do the whole job.