The order in which you put things matters. Lots of things are important, but by changing the order you get very different outcomes. Here’s my favorite example:
Let’s say your business sells widgets, that always-useful stand in for whatever it is you really sell. You say, “We are a widget manufacturer.” A widget manufacturer is excellent at making widgets. They make the widgets, and then they sell those widgets. The order here is “widget maker” is most important, “selling widgets” comes later. And that order produces a certain outcome.
Instead, you might change the order. You might say, “We are a sales organization that primarily creates value by manufacturing widgets.” This is a very different order, and putting “sales organization” first leads to a very different outcome.
You Are a Sales Organization
Too many businesses mistakenly believe they are something other than a sales organization. Because they don’t believe that they are a sales organization first and foremost, sales is an afterthought. This is especially true when the company is really good at what they do.
I have a number of friends that want to be consultants. They have the subject matter expertise and the experience to really help people. But the last thing on earth any of them would want to do is to market and sell themselves. They put up a website, print some business cards, and wait for the business to come. But it never comes. Because in their minds “consulting” comes before “selling.”
It doesn’t matter how much value you can create. You cannot create that value until your dream client says “yes.”
I’ve spent time with dozens of sales organizations over the last year. All of them are excellent in their space, but very few of them believe that they are a sales organization first and foremost. They don’t have a sales organization’s culture. The sales force is sometimes an afterthought. Product or service comes before sales. Where this is true, I find the same thing: too little client acquisition, and too little opportunity acquisition.
Putting Sales and Marketing First
What about you and your company? When someone asks what you do, what do you tell them? What outcomes do the people inside the four walls of your company believe they are responsible for?
If you were to change the order and put “sales organization” or “salesperson” first, what activities would you have to give priority to in order to make that statement true? Would you have to talk about client acquisition first? Would you have to focus on opportunity acquisition? How would changing the order change your company?
I would love to hear your thought, ideas, and stories.
If you have things in the wrong order, change it. I’ll see you back here next week.