A rapidly changing environment is the regular background against which organizations must develop.
Change is continuous and will become more rapid as we move forward over time. Senior management must be capable of reacting to those changes, be prepared to take advantage of them and yet stay within the overall framework and agreed strategy.
The role of strategy is fundamental if the people within an organisation are to be enabled to make the level of contribution of which they are capable. Strategy, based on a good grasp of the core competencies of a business, is an essential precursor to achieving optimal shareholder value.
Dependence on salespeople is key to delivering the latent capability of a business. Our salespeople are the greatest source of competitive advantage we have and that is precisely why we should continue to invest in them and fully develop them.
This is particularly true now that in most market sectors competitive advantage is continually being eroded – i.e. International barriers are coming down, selling time is becoming limited, competitors are getting smarter, fewer and fewer names are appearing on companies’ databases and product uniqueness is rare. Conversely, undeveloped personnel can bring down a company through inadequate performance, leaving the competition to harvest the marketplace.
This extract from ‘All Together Now’ by Sir John Harvey-Jones articulates the last point perfectly. “There is practically no area of business where the difference between rhetoric and actuality is greater than in the handling of people. Every businessman will always claim that it is the people in his organisation who are the key to its success. Indeed it is difficult to argue anything else. A company consists of money (which can ebb and flow almost with the speed of light), of fixed investments (which by definition are obsolescent from the very moment that they have been made), and a range of products – and hopefully a market position – which are under continual attack from competitors who are trying to produce better and more desirable products for less costs. What a company does have, and handled rightly can maintain, is the commitment, skills and abilities of its people. This is constantly attested to by the statements in company annual reports – I cannot remember the last time I failed to see the chairman’s last sentence paying tribute to his people. Yet despite all these facts our skills at enabling our people to give their best, and continuously beat the best that come against them, are remarkably tenuous. Moreover, this area of activity is seldom subject to the sort of analysis, debate and experimentation so readily devoted to fields such as production or marketing. Even though we are all welded to the concept of continuous improvement, when did you last see an improvement plan for the management of your people? If you have seen one, I would bet long money that the plan referred to reduction of administration costs or overheads, rather than being a plan consciously adopted to enable more of our people to contribute more”.
One of the most over-used definitions you are ever likely to read is from Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things in the hope that those things will miraculously achieve a different result.”
This means that sales directors and sales managers who are not happy with the results they are achieving must make changes.
Keep doing what you are doing and you’ll keep getting what you have been getting
Organizations that want to permanently increase their sales results, need to approach sales differently, to create “the difference that makes the difference” in order to positively impact bottom line performance.
Sales captains and salespeople who have 100% commitment to doing whatever it takes to elevate their sales to a whole new level, are the ones most likely to succeed.