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Blog #91 Execution vs. Analysis Paralysis

Over the many years I’ve spent in the world of business to business sales, I’ve come to one incontrovertible conclusion, and that is the sheer number of sales organizations that spend inordinate amounts of time “re-organizing” or “changing up” their go to market sales strategies and sales forces and it is out of control.

Generally speaking, at least 80% of the companies I have worked with, and that’s a lot of companies, are re-examining their sales strategies, structures, or platforms. This percentage is not based on one single type of organization or category, but rather a broad spectrum from Fortune 1000 companies to smaller organizations covering a wide range of verticals from technology, to financial services, to office supply businesses, and everything in-between.

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t have a discussion with a client that is re-organizing their sales force structure. It can be re-allocating territories, entertaining new training techniques, changing individual’s sales roles, modifying the comp plan, or completely killing the existing platform and starting from scratch, all in the quest for the promise of better results.

The amount of time, energy, and resources allocated to these initiatives is mind numbing. Evaluations are made and studies conducted. Vast resources are spent whether it be internal ‘meditation’ or with outside experts, all with the hope of a better solution vs. the existing structure. In the last number of years, the offering of alternative solutions has multiplied exponentially. Be it CRM products, mass data integration, or the over stated value of the “digital” solution, the complexity of options and more importantly the investment in time necessary to evaluate these various options, is staggering.

Of course, we must participate in this circus if one is to find “the best” solution, or must we?

We would all agree there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. We would also agree that how we allocate those hours becomes one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make. Every time a new “innovation” or “best practice” is introduced, the pie of time requires yet another slice to be carved out of the same pie to grapple with the task of evaluating and implementing.

Worse still, while companies dwell in the state of re-evaluation, the weeks, months, and quarters go by, and before you know it, it’s year end. 

 Lost opportunity is just that, lost. Time is an unrecoverable commodity, and time spent figuring out “what to do” versus applying efforts and resources to “doing it” isn’t always the best decision

 It is undeniable that having a well sorted and effective go to market plan is essential, but more often than not, failure lays not in the concept, but rather in the execution and the follow through on the concept.

 The irony is that most sales organizations aren’t necessarily broken, they could just use a lot more elbow grease applied to execution. Execution isn’t just a concept or idea. Successful execution requires determination, rigor, and stick-to-itiveness.

Productive execution will never be a self sustained or a plug and play option. It requires ongoing oversight and hands-on involvement over a sustained period, probably in perpetuity.

The “best” sales structure is not always dependant on finding the latest and greatest methodology, but instead embracing a methodology your organization can reasonably get their arms wrapped around, and then executing strongly and rigorously. Driving results in sales doesn’t always have to be rocket science. There are a few well respected pillars of sales strategy that properly executed, will improve the results of most any sales group.

Adding layers and layers of new complexities and responsibilities to a sales person’s job doesn’t enable productivity. It kills productivity.  Habitual re-orgs that require sales people to relearn again and again suck the life out of pace and moving forward because the sales person is in a constant state of digesting the new “mantra”, which quite simply means, they’re not selling.

The purpose of this blog is to suggest you look “inside” rather than outside.

Look at and examine your current platform. Better understand where concepts are appropriate, but execution is weak.  Tweak if necessary, but try spending some time on ways to improve execution around your current platform. Then start executing. You’ll be surprised by the results.

The best idea is often just a good idea, and that may be the idea you already have.

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