Category Archives: Revenue Risk Management

Quit Touching Me! I Just Want Simplicity!

“Most commentary on social media ignores an obvious truth—that the value of things is largely determined by their rarity.” A smackdown of social media’s most ardent engagers that appeared in a column in The Economist, Too Much Buzz.

Getting a social media strategist, marketer or salesperson to buy that idea might require a hard sell of its own, because it means upending some well-entrenched beliefs. For instance, “It takes an average of seven touches to convert a suspect to a prospect.” Persistent marketing advice that some accept with the same fealty as a family proverb passed from generation to generation. If it takes seven touches to move a prospect just one level in our sales funnels, how many touches to get to Close? Time to hop on Excel and run the numbers! Engage! Nurture! More is more!

But an article in Harvard Business Review found touching has a point of diminishing return. “For many consumers, the rising volume of marketing messages isn’t empowering—it’s overwhelming. Rather than pulling customers into the fold, marketers are pushing them away with relentless and ill-conceived efforts to engage.” To paraphrase from Fiddler on the Roof, “Why do we communicate so much if it’s so dangerous?” Tradition!

Marketers have gotten the hint, but haven’t done much about it. When I recently freed myself from some unwanted email, the propagators wanted to know why, helpfully offering their own suggestions, including “The email content is irrelevant . . . the emails are too frequent . . . I never requested receiving email from your company.” Check. Check. Check. What part of unsubscribe don’t you understand?

Did I opt in? Or did I just fail to opt out? Who cares? It’s only the tip of the communication-overload iceberg. According to a recent IBM CEO Study, Command & Control Meets Collaboration, “While social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.” Heaven help us if marketers keep steadfast to a Seven-Touches, more-is-better mentality. Overloaded? Just wait! We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

According to the article Too Much Buzz, “the more people tweet, the less attention people will pay to any individual tweet. The more people ‘friend’ even passing acquaintances, the less meaning such connections have. As communication grows ever easier, the important thing is detecting whispers of useful information in a howling hurricane of noise. For speakers, the new world will be expensive.”

Most of this I knew – we all knew – but it was the word expensive that raised my pulse rate. With the low-cost ubiquity of social media communications today, it seems a rare word, unsettling in this context.

What’s the solution? Has engagement lost its meaning, watered down from overuse like other marketing buzz-speak, including synergy, proactive, and innovation, and now, agile? Are we intoxicated on metrics, servile to Seven Touches, or seventy, or seven hundred without thinking about the consequences or outcomes? If Seven Touches doesn’t cut it today, what does?

There are several answers. Start by letting go of the myopia that “there is a continuous linear relationship between the number of interactions and share of wallet”—a finding from a recent Harvard Business School Study, described in an article, Three Myths about What Customers Want. “There’s no correlation between interactions with a customer and the likelihood that he or she will be ‘sticky’ (go through with an intended purchase, purchase again, and recommend).” Instead, the authors believe that “shared values build relationships.”

What does that mean for marketers and salespeople? “Instead of relentlessly demanding more consumer attention, treat the attention you do win as precious,” according to the article, which makes these additional recommendations:

1. Ask yourself “is this campaign . . . going to reduce the cognitive overload consumers feel as they shop my category? If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not sure,’ go back to the drawing board.”

2. Communicate shared values by promoting a higher purpose to your product or service. Companies like Mini, Pedigree, and Southwest Airlines were mentioned as examples.

3. Get off the brand wagon! “Only 23% of the consumers in our study said they have a relationship with a brand. In the typical consumer’s view of the world, relationships are reserved for friends, family and colleagues.” When they explain why, they say, “’it’s just a brand, not a member of my family’ . . . Stop bombarding consumers who don’t want a (brand) relationship with your attempts to build one through endless emails or complex loyalty programs.”

Move over Seven Touches. Say hello to Decision Simplicity Index—“the ease with which consumers can gather trustworthy information about a product and confidently and efficiently weigh their purchase options,” according to Harvard Business Review. “Our study found that the best tool for measuring consumer-engagement efforts is the ‘decision simplicity index,’ a gauge of how easy it is for consumers to gather and understand (or navigate) information about a brand, how much they can trust the information they find, and how readily they can weigh their options.” Ahhh. Just reading that makes one feel better!

What’s touching to a marketer might be groping to a prospect. Something to think aboutbefore you envision your social media strategy. Keep things simple, and treat the attention you do win as precious. Easy to say, but much, much harder to execute when “conversation” is so cheap. Authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath said it best in a recent FastCompany Magazine article, Why Market Your Company with Stick-on Emotion When You Can Tap the Real Thing?, “When you mean it, convincing customers doesn’t take as much shouting.”

“Know Everything You Can about Your Prospects!” An Exercise in Futility

“Your job is to know everything you can about your prospect’s business — their market, their needs, their customers, and their people. Know their buying motives, how they profit, and how they produce,” Jeffrey Gitomer wrote in a blog, Did You Get the Order? If Not, Here’s Why.

Great idea—until you attempt to do it. After reading Gitomer’s recommendation, I began to hyperventilate. Where to begin? What matters? What should be remembered? What should be ignored? How much knowing is enough?

At this point, I decided to quit fussing and give it a try. Here’s my top-of-mind list of everything to know about prospects:

Problems. Pains. Strategic objectives. Tactical objectives. Competitors. SWOT. BANT. Decision history. Desired outcomes. Needed capabilities. Limitations. What’s working. What’s not working. Gaps. Shortfalls. Operational headaches. Budgets. Preferences. Biases. Technical specifications. Operational KPI’s. Financial KPI’s. More gaps. Decision makers. Influencers. Anomalies. People, process, and technology. Market forces. Industry best practices. Recent trends. “As-is” state. “To-be” state. Implementation concerns. Buying process. Purchase time frame. The Truth.

Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah! The list goes on. An easier exercise would be listing the best strategies for the Greek government to avoid financial collapse.

I’m on board with the “quest for knowledge” ideal. After all, without learning, we humans would still be writing on clay tablets instead of on computer tablets. But for salespeople, know everything you can is counterproductive to learning, because the admonition provides no boundary, and the uncaring physics of earth’s orbit limits time by partitioning the selling day into 24-hour periods, and quarters into three short months. Harshness that puts a kibosh on panoramic learning, admirable as the pursuit might be.

Chasing down knowledge and insight stretches people in more ways than the Federal budget. But chase we must! Maintaining a razor sharp competitive sales edge depends on bringing knowledge to every meeting and conversation. The rarer the knowledge, the edgier the edge. Yet, a torrent of information smothers salespeople every day: email newsletters. Alerts. Newsfeeds. Tweets. Blogs. LinkedIn updates. Company profiles on Facebook. Annual reports. And gobs upon gobs of data and analytics . . . Anytime, everywhere.

Knowledge work—such as sales—requires the ability to distinguish between needed knowledge, and everything else. Know everything you can fails to consider that reality, and salespeople can become servile to such mythologized knowledge standards. With learning, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Who can afford the time?

What are the right things to know? What is the raw meat—or brussel sprouts, if you’re a vegetarian—for sales information? Information that provides knowledge toward these four essential insights:

1. Sales risks
2. Sales opportunities
3. Prospect risks
4. Prospect opportunities

Manage risks, capitalize on opportunities. “Welcome to my life!” a buying executive might say. And perceptions of risks and opportunities shape everything that sales executives do, as well – from lead qualification to proposal writing to pitching to winning the order. By seeking information that exposes and explains risks and opportunities, salespeople can develop keener senses for needed knowledge.

They can better recognize valuable information when they encounter it. They can create better questions to ask and hold more meaningful dialogs. Salespeople can’t know every risk and opportunity, but viewing information through a risk-opportunity lens demands the ability to distinguish between what’s consequential, and what’s not. Practice makes perfect. Knowing everything doesn’t provide that focus.

Remember, back in high school or college you understood that course mastery didn’t require knowing everything about a subject. “What you need to know to pass Principals and Applications of Operations Research is right here in the syllabus.” A convenient practicality that enabled me to hone my Frisbee throwing and catching skills when the weather turned warm in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Know everything? Not on a bet! With selling, the important thing is knowing the right things. Ask any eighth grader who just aced his math final. He’ll tell you. Duh.

Leadership Lessons Learned from the University of Virginia Debacle

How many people from Virginia does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: three. One to change the bulb, and two to talk about how good the old one used to be.

As a proud resident of Virginia for over five decades, I find that self-deprecating humor well-earned. For proof, visit Old Town Alexandria, just across the Potomac River from our nation’s capital, to see the city’s statue of a lone Confederate soldier standing smack dab in the middle of its busiest intersection. Not coincidentally, his back squarely faces north. And if you can’t recall the name of any southern Civil War personality except Robert E. Lee, take a trip down Richmond’s Monument Avenue, where you’ll see statues of Stonewall Jackson, JEB Stuart, and Jefferson Davis, larger than life.

If you’re looking for fast-paced change, you’re slightly more likely to find it in Riyadh than in Richmond. Virginia is for lovers, not changers. Against this backdrop, the recent tumult at the University of Virginia over the recent firing—and rehiring—of its president, Teresa Sullivan, seems perfectly bizarre.

UVa’s leadership drama attracted widespread attention, and the topic made Twitter’s top trending ideas on June 26th, embedded on a list that included #KatyPerryPremiere, Farmville 2, and Adam Oates. If you haven’t kept up with the story, it began to unfold in late May of this year, but I’ll pick it up beginning June 10th, when the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors abruptly announced it had asked Dr. Sullivan to resign her post as UVa President, after serving less than two years.

Scant information was offered. The ostensible reason for Dr. Sullivan’s firing? President Sullivan (Terry, as she is popularly known) advocated for “incremental change” when Helen Dragas, Rector of the university’s Board of Visitors, and others felt urgency to shake up the status quo. Sixteen days later, on Tuesday, June 26th, the board reinstated Sullivan to her position by a unanimous vote. Now that’s a story!

I’ve shared the almost-beginning and the non-end, leaving out the fascinating middle. If you want to read the timeline and see the full cast of characters, click here.

“Exhibit A of this plainly dysfunctional system is, of course, Helen E. Dragas, who is UVa’s rector and, thus, the board’s chairman. She was utterly and properly humiliated Tuesday (June 26) with the reversal of her grossly mismanaged effort to oust the university’s president,” Robert McCartney wrote in The Washington Post on June 28.

“By all accounts, Dragas is a smart, effective businesswoman, known in particular for her tough-minded resolve, but she needlessly threw the university into turmoil when she failed to respect two rather fundamental rules of good business practice: know your market, and communicate effectively.”

As much as anything, this story proves once again that intelligent adults in powerful positions are capable of exercising incredibly poor judgment, and can make huge mistakes. Gaffes that might seem obvious to avoid for some were hidden traps to others. The biggest lessons learned:

1. Be open. The board’s action was shrouded in secrecy. When President Sullivan’s resignation was announced on June 10th, the reasons were vague. The abruptness of the Board’s action begged the question of whether Dr. Sullivan had a heretofore unknown defect, rendering her unable to lead—like falsifying her academic credentials, or running a clandestine child labor pool. But those reasons weren’t there, and there was little detail given, other than citing “philosophical differences” with the board. “We see no evidence that President Sullivan is unwilling or unable to make the necessary adjustments and lead us through necessary change,” Faculty Senate chair George Cohen said later.

2. Be honest. “It quickly became clear that Dragas and her allies had portrayed the board’s view (to terminate Sullivan) as unanimous when in fact some members were supportive of the president and no full board meeting was held to discuss (Sullivan’s) ouster,” according to an account published in The Washington Post.

3. Build consensus. Few people acting on behalf of many presents a very slippery slope. In another Washington Post article (UVa Board Reinstates Sullivan, June 27, 2012), “Sullivan’s removal was unusual in that board members appear to have acted alone—and against a president with unusually broad support among faculty, alumni, state leaders and students.”

4. Be timely. It took Rector Dragas over ten days to lift the veil on the “philosophical differences” that inspired the board’s draconian action. In an email dated June 22, Dragas began: “In my statement to the Board on Monday, I conveyed my heartfelt apologies for the pain, anger and confusion that has swept the Grounds (campus) over the last 10 days, and said that the UVa family deserved better from your Board,” adding, “The bottom line is the days of incremental decision-making in higher education are over, or should be.” In the same email, she provided a “partial list” of needed changes that included ten issues that should have been aired earlier.

5. Have a solid argument. “. . . Dragas never built a credible case. Sullivan sought to bring change from the ground up, through a process of building consensus and empowering individual academic units. Dragas and her allies thought Sullivan was moving too slowly in an economic climate that demanded swift action.” But specifics that could have better explained the board’s move never materialized.

6. In some organizations, a swift kick in the pants motivates people, but the same action can backfire elsewhere. “The most likely explanation for the rector’s missteps is simply that she handled the matter unilaterally much as she would shove through a decision at her firm, Dragas Co’s. Somewhere along the way, she forgot that a university works differently from a condominium builder,” McCartney wrote.

7. Anticipate that others will object, possibly strenuously. The overwhelming anger directed toward the board rendered them deer in the headlights.

8. In a time of leadership crisis, the power of community and connections cannot be underestimated. A June 27th email from Carl Zeithaml, Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, who offered to become the university’s interim president, expresses this idea most eloquently. “The only reason that I survived some of the more challenging moments was the unwavering and unconditional support of my family, friends, and colleagues. It was both humbling and inspiring, and I deeply appreciate every message and action to support me.” Dr. Sullivan would probably agree.

Following the decision to reinstate Dr. Sullivan this Tuesday, Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell said “There has been too little transparency; too much vitriol. Too little discussion; too much blame . . . The statements made today by board members and President Sullivan were poignant and gracious and set the right tone for collaboration ahead.” UVa Professor Allen Lynch took a similar–if more succinct–slant, “You have two different cultures represented here, academic and corporate, and there was a failure to communicate.”

Kiss, hug, and make up. But is that the end of the story? Will UVa and its community once again become one big, happy blue and orange family? That will require patience, maturity, and a keen understanding of the missteps that created this debacle, and the will to never repeat them. We can. In the last fifty years, Virginia has moved from 38th to 7th in per capita income among states—no minor feat. We might need three people to change a light bulb, and we’re getting better at knowing when to change. But we can always improve on how it’s done.

Five Key Insights Every Salesperson Must Know about Prospects

While driving along one of Northern Virginia’s busiest highways, I passed an unusual sight. Late model black Porsche convertible with top down, male driver with salt and pepper hair. Hands perched atop the steering wheel, he clasped a mobile device with which he was vigorously texting. Ahh, youth!

I see people texting while driving all the time. Every day, actually. But he had an added indulgence that made the encounter juicier to write about: white speaker buds were conspicuously stuffed into his ears. I figured he was rocking to Metallica cranked past 11. If this man wanted to be a little more sensory-numb to hazards, he only needed to don a blindfold. I sped off, mainly to avoid the risk of seeing that beautiful car crumpled like an accordion.

Unintentionally, he makes a useful point. People regularly perform complex tasks with less-than-optimal information. When you’re driving, operating a gantry crane, or piloting an LNG tanker, that’s not always a great idea.

But in sales, it happens all the time. In our multi-tasking, crazy-busy, do-more-with-less world, there are constant temptations to take information shortcuts. This, despite hearing wise advice to know everything we can about our prospects. “Yeah, right! Two months until the end of the quarter! Who has the time?”

Knowing Everything is a laudable goal, but salespeople are pragmatic. They recognize that not all information has equal importance or value. But to keep sales opportunities on the right road and out of the ditch, what, exactly, needs to be learned about prospects?

A vexing question, because the object of sales discovery, closing the deal, is elusive and has ancillary goals. Whether it’s early prospect qualification, price negotiation, strategic assessment, or something else, not all questions apply to every situation. And many salespeople struggle to find and ask the right questions because they don’t clearly know what they’re after in the first place. Instead, they review some best sales questions, and off they go, list in hand. But successful salespeople distinguish themselves by having a firm grasp on what needs to be learned. From there, the right questions follow.

For a simple comparison, consider how to calculate the volume of a shipping box, which requires determining length, width and height. And for assessing the offensive capabilities of a baseball player, the top measurements are batting average, RBI’s (Runs Batted In), and home runs. Similarly, throughout the buying process, there are five critical observable elements about prospects that must be discovered:

1. Prospect Situation, or As-is State
What’s happening right now, and what will likely happen in the near future. Prospect Situation covers forces, trends, developments, pains, processes, recent events, limitations, goals, objectives, feeds and speeds, KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), financial metrics, gaps, what’s working and what’s not. And especially, risks and opportunities.

That’s a lot, so to uncover what matters most, salespeople must learn:

Consequence—based on the situation, which downstream outcomes or results occur?,
Impact—are those outcomes or results worth caring about, and if so, why?

2. Motivation
Some company executives care deeply about certain problems, but they don’t always invest in solving them. That reality upends frequent assumptions salespeople make. “Our product is a perfect fit for their problem. I don’t get it! They’re just ‘sitting tight’ for now . . .”

Not all organizations have the same urgency in their cultural DNA—or have any urgency, for that matter. While some companies believe they must adapt or die, others are just perennially fat—and quite happy.

Measuring prospect motivation was a hot topic covered in an article in Harvard Business Review (The End of Solution Sales, July-August, 2012), which offers a five-point scorecard to assess prospect motivation, including receptivity to new or disruptive ideas, and how the company encourages dialogue.

3. Network
The rise of Big Data and analytics obscures a durable fact for purchases of complex products: people buy when people have dialogues—with people. Not with brands, not with search engines, not with social networks. Same for the delusion, “our product sells itself!” It doesn’t matter how sophisticated or capable the product, or how urgent the situation, no B2B product will go anywhere sales-wise without people connecting with people.

In the past, salespeople simply sought decision makers and influencers as vehicles to the C-Suite, just as fish might follow a chum line. Today, the same Harvard Business Review article recommends thinking about buyer archetypes differently. The authors contend that successful salespeople identify and connect with Mobilizers—who have motivation and wherewithal to move a project from start to finish, and avoid Talkers—people that are “poor at building the consensus necessary for complex purchasing decisions.”

4. Attitude and sentiment
Network questions alone won’t reveal a person’s attitudes, sentiments, opinions, biases, prejudices, and feelings. All of which comprise the baggage—good and bad, strong and weak—that people bring to sales conversations. These elements are revealed through direct conversations, and through social media analytic tools.

5. Vision, or To-Be State
Sometime during the buying process, people conjure a vision for their situational nirvana. If it were a picture, it would display the caption, Problem Solved, much like the photos of shiny, un-dented car bodies featured in ads for collision repair shops. Some salespeople first seek to understand vision without the constraints of time, money, or technology, and later develop one more grounded by reality.

Of course, there are keen differences between sizing up sales opportunities and determining how much cargo a shipping container will hold, or whether a baseball player portends to become an offensive asset:

1. Availability of information. The five elements come from disparate sources, and aren’t always easy to discover.
2. Interpretation. Observations of some elements, like Motivation, Consequence, and Impact are often qualitative, and can be interpreted differently.
3. Timing. In a sales scenario, knowledge and insights are cumulative, and are rarely discovered at once.
4. Pathway. Discovery doesn’t always follow a linear pattern. For example, uncovering To-be state doesn’t always follow As-is state. Motivational insights might not follow Situation.
5. Permanency. Observations and measurements for these five elements can change throughout the buying process, sometimes significantly.
6. Weight. Some measurements carry greater importance, depending on the immediate sales objective. For example, during early qualification, Prospect Situation might matter more than Vision, or To-be State.
7. Connectedness. Prospect Situation and Motivation, while different, are related. Attitude/Sentiment depends on network knowledge, but is a different measurement.
8. Exclusion. Like the Porsche driver, is it possible to be unaware of key information and still avoid large risks? Possible, but not probable. When I sold IT hardware to the CIA, I had few clues about why they bought. OK—no clues! Everyone was happier that way. But that was the exception—not the rule.
9. Completeness. These five elements might not explain everything about a prospect. More elements might need to be measured or observed to develop a full understanding.

Knowing what needs to be learned helps keep sales conversations on the right track. If you know what needs to be learned, the right questions will flow, and there’s less need to memorize lists. And you can avoid asking questions that could be perceived as dumb. Most important, you’ll understand what information you’re missing and which hazards you face.

No salesperson can possibly learn everything about prospects, but neither should they be oblivious to key information, or overcome by informational noise, like listening to Metallica cranked to 11.

Sales Team! Show Me the Money! And Profits! And Customer Satisfaction! And Good Ethics! And . . .

People tell me that over time, civilizations become smarter. But I’m not so sure. Back in 1998—almost 15 years ago—courtroom testimony about the Prudential Insurance sales scam included “Your judgment gets clouded out in the field when you are pressured to sell, sell, sell.”

But just two weeks ago, Jason Gay wrote in The Wall Street Journal, (Cash a Large Check, Repent, Refocus, Cash a Larger Check, July 24, 2012) “A big-time football program can generate tens of millions per season, and though profits are hardly guaranteed—a stunning proportion of athletic departments run at a deficit—this pursuit can be used to justify a program’s excessive power on campus.”

Clouded judgment, redux. In 1998, Penn State’s administration might have benefited from studying the Prudential case. Another learning opportunity, squandered.

Revenue uber alles! If the Prudential and Penn State stories don’t give executives pause to consider the risks, nothing will. Even with the NCAA’s harsh sanctions against Penn State, governance problems won’t evaporate—from college football or from anywhere else. The more zeroes in potential revenue, the more people drawn to the bacchanalian orgy—except they’re getting drunk on dollars.

Few organizations are immune. Ask a CXO what Sales must provide for his or her organization and the response comes searing back with the emphatic velocity of a Roger Federer forehand: “Revenue!” Yet, while most executives readily acknowledge that high revenue won’t overcome bad strategy or out-of-control spending, they don’t recognize the myriad risks that accompany tasking the sales team with the singular mission of generating it.

Asking whether unprofitable revenue is valuable brings a similarly quick response, equally emphatic: “No!” But that answer cracks open the door just enough to expose the truth that sales teams are often tacitly urged to deliver more than revenue. Profit matters. “And are profitable customers valuable if they didn’t enjoy buying from you, and aren’t likely to buy from you again?” “No, that’s not valuable, either,” I frequently hear. “What about customer satisfaction, Positive Experience, and customer loyalty?” “Yep, Sales must deliver those, too.”

And because we’ve all heard customers lament too many times “. . . after we bought, we never heard from our sales rep again,” Sales must also create—and keep—raving fans. Add to these deliverables the need to bring competitive knowledge and customer insight into the organization, and executives now have a more complete, better-balanced picture of how Sales fits into the overall mission of an enterprise. Delivering on the monthly revenue commitment comprises an important part of the picture—but not the only part. Far from it.

Confusion lingers over just what companies want from Sales. A large global strategy consulting organization I worked for wanted to grow revenue and to reduce the business development workload for their senior partners. They envisioned a new sales entity within the company, and staffed it with experienced professionals. When they hired me to join the team, they told me a detailed compensation plan would be prepared and ready when I started two weeks later. Two weeks went to four, then six, then beyond. “We’re still trying to figure it out,” the lead partner eventually told me with a sigh. Finally, when the plan was presented, a sizable chunk included discretionary compensation, to be awarded “if I like the job you’re doing,” he said.

Comp plan six weeks overdue, discretionary compensation . . . Hmmmm . . . A pattern began to emerge. When another partner asked me to hand-deliver a small proposal he had prepared for a government client in downtown Washington, I said “the in-house courier company does that.” “But that’s what Sales is supposed to do,” he insisted. In hindsight, all of this was emblematic of an organization that had, at best, a blurry picture of what Sales does—if it had any picture at all. There’s more, but I’ll skip to the end: the company dissolved its entire sales team within twenty-four months.

Most companies don’t suffer such extreme outcomes, but many stumble along, under-performing, and wondering year after year why sales skewed off the rails. Lack of clarity about the value Sales must return to the enterprise often bubbles up as a root cause.

Sales organizations provide the greatest value when they consistently deliver on:

1. Growing revenue. No surprises—it’s on everyone’s list.
2. Maximizing profitability. Often overlooked, but equally important.
3. Attracting and maintaining customers. Encompasses the R in Customer Relationship Management.
4. Managing governance, risk, and compliance. Removed from the domain of the sales organization for too long. But today, how revenue is generated matters as much as whether it’s generated.
5. Improving effectiveness and organizational learning. In today’s hyper-competitive global market, complacency and hubris bring great risk of failure.
6. Ensuring agility and competitiveness. “Sales must change!” We hear it all the time. But few companies make changing part of the job description.

These six constitute a shaky equilibrium. That’s OK–I’ll take that over lopsided, anytime! Amazing to think that if Penn State and Prudential were measured on revenue achievement alone, they would be considered wildly successful. And for a time, that was exactly how they were regarded, until the whistles began sounding. To prevent that from happening, sales operations must become more balanced, and the measurements of sales achievement more nuanced than championing revenue over everything else.

Analysts cheer when publicly-traded companies achieve financial targets. But for many organizations, getting there meant Sales contributed more than just revenue. Organizational leaders must develop a clear understanding of what those contributions are, and they must identify the strategic value Sales must offer every day to accomplish a company’s overall mission.

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