Business owners, managers, and sales professionals can be blind to a changed market and new competition. In relying on their small group of influence they miss the big picture many times. Ego can also stand in the way. Small successes continue to reinforce small thinking. It’s like the frog standing in the pan of water and stays there as the heat is turned up until boiled alive.
With that said, many are slowly waking up to the realization that their “tried and true” practices and product offerings are simply no longer effective. Marketing, products, and culture changed but they didn’t. Now their competition that “got it” is ahead of the curve. Many times as much as years ahead. Let me give you an example…
Years ago I introduced social media marketing and its applications to my company and more specifically sales teams. Amazingly only one person really grasped the vision and power. She understood the possibilities and ran with it. With a local economy downturn this person now had the power of selling through other regional markets without any real costs. The big picture. Of course the soothsayers, a year or so later, were now trying to imitate her success and quickly realized that it takes time. They are now playing catch up and are behind the curve.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. (via Great minds)” -Jim Rohn
Businesses are living breathing entities. You are either feeding them or they die. Sales success is not any different. What new idea, new process, or new excitement have you brought to your organization?
Success is your responsibility
It is so easy to get wrapped up on the daily sales processes where future planning, marketing, and educating get left behind. I’ve talked about business and sales plans before. There is a real need to stop and smell the roses so to speak. What is your current industry doing? What are the current and future market trends? Do you really know your competition and have they changed? Are you capable of directing and understanding how to keep up and excel?
My industry is not any different than most. I talked about holistic selling before it was popular to do so. Very few understood where I was going with this. Now we have virtualization of phone systems, location based integrations, and cloud based services. Our competition is not only from traditional players but now from search engine companies and router manufacturers. Presenting this to my sales team I found them terrified of the implications. They are going to have to re-think, re-learn and the hardest part… change. Unfortunately most won’t until too late.
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Anatole France
Over the years I have watched prosperous businesses and sales professionals fail because they simply could not keep their minds open to a changing world and market. They wanted to stick with “tried and true” processes that made them successful for years. I watched as a router/switch company became a phone system company and changed my industry overnight. Many couldn’t make the change to VoIP and are either dead or dying. Today those that are selling solely phone “appliances” and not services, (hosted, virtualized, cloud based) are going to find themselves behind the curve and possibly in trouble. My guess is this example can apply to pretty much any industry.
A bit of advice
Do you find yourself in this same predicament? Here’s a bit of advice… Do not change everything. But do change. Take some time to look around, investigate, and understand what is happening to your market. Educate and wrap your arms around this information. Put it into your newly developed business/sales plan and execute. Most importantly become an evangelist and an expert. At the very least you will find your career and business less tedious and possibly gain back some of that mojo you had when you first started.