Sales Topic Revisit - Is Sales-Productivity an Obsolete Goal?

Productivity Obsolete Goal.pngIs productivity what we should be working toward in the sales department, or is it innovation?

This new, weekly series revisits a smart article, post or podcast from the greater sales community that was published in the past six months or so that is worthy of more discussion. Today we look at a LinkedIn post by Billy Bob Brigmon, Sr. Principal, Emerging Sales Talent & Innovation at Workday. His post is called Productivity – an Obsolete Goal for Enterprise Sales.

Brigmon’s take is that productivity is not what is important - just look at the companies who have disrupted industries. They did not focus on being more productive, rather they focused on solving the obvious issues that others in the industry have not changed. They focused on innovation.

One lesson Brigmon shares is to “attack complexity and friction as if your survival depends on it, because it does”.

There is no shortage of technology tools to help us with sales – but these tools have not improved quota attainment in sales organizations.

If we focus on where the points of friction are, and areas of complexity, we can more streamline the organization.

Brigmon states that “sales experts may be the least capable of reframing sales problems” When I first read this, I vehemently disagreed – after all, some great changes and improvements have happened due to experts in the sales industry. Then I immediately thought of half a dozen sales organizations we have worked with where leaders could not see obvious improvement solutions. It takes special innovators in any industry to see past the status quo and who have the courage to speak up for change.

Because this post was on LinkedIn, there are more than a couple dozen comments, including at least two worth highlighting:

Dave Brock, author of the Sales Manager Survival Guide wrote:

“Complexity (internal, solution, partner, customer) will be the single biggest issue Sales Executives must face in the coming years. We see devastating impacts of complexity in sales performance – as an example, Time Available to Sell at 9-22% in large organization. There are any number of other metrics indicating the impact of complexity. Organizations must focus on radical simplification – first within their own operations.”

Debbie Gee, Account Executive at ePath Learning shared:

“My experience in both large companies and small is that it is most often the rest of the organization that is not adaptable.”

Please read, like and comment on this great post on LinkedIn. It deserves more eyeballs and insights. My takeaway from this post are the last two sentences:

“Adaptability starts with a culture of learning, which is intentionally different than a culture of training. Build a diverse team that will continually challenge core assumptions of your go-to-market strategy and relentlessly attack complexity and friction.”

How will your sales organization adapt this year? What small changes could be made right away?

Need Some Help? TALK WITH LORI

Lori Richardson  helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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