In my work as a business coach and mentor to early stage companies, I get to meet and work with a ton of great folks. Their businesses couldn’t be more different from one another, from the kinds of products and services they offer to the sizes of their staff and their target markets. There’s a huge amount of diversity in my work, but there’s also some common threads.
One of those common threads are the mistakes. This incredible collection of entrepreneurs, owners and executives I serve all seem to have the same blind spots when it comes to the business of sales. What is that blind spot? They don’t give their sales the same level of attention and focus that they give other areas of their businesses.
Some of you may already be thinking “I’m not in the sales business, so this doesn’t apply to me.” You’re dead wrong. Everyone with a business is involved in some way with the business of sales.
Why is it that sales tends to get left out on the cold? Sales never seems to get the same level of attention, particularly in the early stages, as other aspects of the business. While an entrepreneur might have product production and development completely mapped out, with every detail of every process fully planned, they might have only the most vague idea how that product will ultimately be sold, or how customers for that product will be acquired.
From a sales perspective, this is completely mind-boggling. It would be like setting up a production line without any idea how to turn the raw materials into a finished product.
Imagine a piano factory that worked that way. On one end of the factory floor, you would have a bunch of wood, paint and wire. On the other end, you would have a place for the finished pianos to go. How will these complex, highly tuned instruments be assembled? Don’t worry about it too much. Just hire some folks who have made stuff with saws and hammers before, and let them figure it out as they go.
It’s an absurd way to run a business, isn’t it? But that’s exactly how too many companies approach their sales.
Sales is as fundamental to your business as your product or your management. It provides much-needed support, in the form of cash, to every other part of the company. Building a repeatable, scalable sales methodology that results in highly predictable sales isn’t something you can stumble into. The more you treat sale like a core business process, the better your results will become and the more value you will create for your business and yourself.