Most companies, at some stage in their early lives, while they are struggling for validation and desperate for revenue, have good reason to be grateful for acts of sales heroics that served to bring those all important early orders in and keep the lights on.
Tales of these early hard-won sales wins can reach mythic proportions and become part of the very fabric of the company, retold to inspire both existing employees and new recruits. But there comes a time in the life of all organisations when sales heroics cannot by themselves sustain the company’s momentum.
When that moment comes, if the business is to continue to scale, I want to suggest five reasons why sales process trumps sales heroics.
1: You Can’t Recruit Enough Heroes
Even if it were a good idea in principle, the stark fact is that there aren’t enough instinctive natural sales people to go around. Even the most optimistic calculations estimate that they make up no more than 15% of the total sales population.
2: You Can’t Clone Heroes
If you can’t recruit enough heroes, you can’t clone them either. The capacity and inclination for sales heroics seems to be something you are born with. You can’t clone them, nor can you teach people without the gift to behave credibly as if they have it.
3: Heroics Are Unsustainable
Even the most powerful of heroes struggle to sustain their performance quarter after quarter, year after year. At some point, sooner or later, there comes a point where the heroes’ intensity - and their ability to achieve miracles - fades.
4: Heroes Can Often Inspire but Can Rarely Teach
Because of the instinctive nature of their success, many heroes struggle to disassemble the keys to their success into simple components that can easily be absorbed and adopted by others. For this reason, they can often inspire but can rarely teach.
5: Complex Sales are a Team Sport
But there’s a final, and in many ways most important reason why the age of heroes is fading. The B2B buying decision process involves more stakeholders, and more stages of consideration, than ever before. Isolated acts of heroism are simply not enough to force the sale. Now, more than ever, sales is a team sport.
The Alternative - Dynamic Sales Processes
Scalable businesses cannot be built by sales heroics alone. CSO Insights’ annual Sales Performance Optimisation studies show that companies with well-defined, dynamic sales and marketing processes that reflect best practices and are built on teamwork rather than heroics consistently out-perform their also-ran peers in areas like % of reps making quota, company plan attainment and sales forecast accuracy.
SiriusDecisions have shown that organisations with well-aligned sales and marketing processes achieve an average three-year revenue growth 24% higher than their unaligned, process-averse competitors.
Are You Relying on Hope, Heroics or Process?
So the evidence seems clear - relying on hope is an unsustainable business strategy, and an effective process will always trump sales heroics over anything other than the very short term. So - how consistent, scalable and effective are your organisation’s sales and marketing processes?
Are you selling complex, high-value B2B solutions? I've captured many of today's best go-to-market practices in a 20-point self assessment checklist. You can download it here. Please take a few moments to complete it. I'm sure you’ll find at least one idea that could help you drive better sales performance.
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