I have been encouraged to start a blog by a number of people over the course of time, but a recent conversation inspired me to move on the idea for real. I reside in Seattle, Washington and even though I am a fairly recent transplant here, it definitely feels like home.
I have lived in a number of places– St. Louis, Portland, ME and Tampa, FL to name a few. Everywhere that I have been, the one universal business truth that I have seen is that the sales function has always had a central role in business planning.
I have found the experience in Seattle to be different. There are a lot of startup companies in the ebb and flow of the Seattle economy. The exciting thing about that is that it really is a glimpse into the workplace future, due to all of the amazing creativity. That said, as we all know, the failure rate for startups is high. Scott Shane, in an article in “Small Business Trends” has researched a quantitative number that trends as high as 45-50% over just a five year period.
One observation that I have made is that many small business startups rely heavily on the product/service innovation itself to lead the way of their sales efforts. Sometimes they will bring a marketing emphasis into the equation. But in my discussion around how the sales effort is being led, I have repeatedly been asked things like “What are three easy ways to jumpstart sales?” or “What are six or seven quick selling methods that I can use to guarantee my product’s sales success?” I am essentially being asking for the “magical elixir” to plan their sales effort. And much like the real concept of “magic”, this can often be a delusional bag of tricks that conjures up nothing but difficulty and struggle in the absence of formal sales planning.
My answer to them, and I’m sure this will resonate with many an experienced sales management professional, is that the concept of sales management is much harder than it appears.
That precept will lead to my first topical blog post, “Sales As The Difficult Endeavor…”