Earlier this week I hosted our latest Sales Genius Network webinar. The webinar focused on how companies can increase sales without increasing the size of the sales team. We’ve been researching the critical few inflection points that lead to successful customer acquisition and success processes and we’ve discovered that the vast majority of salespeople could produce 33% (or more) impact for their organizations, if their organization transformed their go-to-market strategy.
As part of the webinar I focused on what I’ve learned is the crucial difference between companies that succeed consistently and those companies who are just as good, but don’t experience the same level of success. Here's what I shared:
Let's talk about the secret of success. Here's what the common wisdom is. If you take a look at the actions that people take, the way people go about operating, the secret that people believe is to execute. It's all about execution. There are bestselling books about execution, which are all about the tactics and skills.
By the way, the most common question I get is how do I do this? How do I do that? How do I social selling better? How can my reps use social media? How can we do email? How can we do outbound? Right? It is the number one question. It is what just about every sales and marketing organization that I see every day is obsessing about is execution. Then they think about strategy. Strategy is important. Then if they're thinking about it, somewhere off in the distance is structure.
Make no mistake, this is the belief that people have because advisers and consultants like me want you to believe this. You see, if I can get you to believe that it's the tactic that makes the difference, then I can be the expert in the tactic, and you'll hire me and you'll pay me more money. If it's about social selling, then I can be the social selling master. If it's about outbound, I can tell you how to write cold scripts. If it's about inbound, I can tell you how to do that.
Everything around execution plays to the idea of a quick hit, a quick solution, a simple (as in easy) solution, and it's all about expertise. But, here's the problem. It's bunk, it's all bunk. Execution comes in third.
Here's how I know that. Show me any tactic, and I will show you a company that is absolutely kicking ass with it and I'll show you a company that's running on exhaust fumes and it's not that one company is so much better than the other company.
Every tactic works and every tactic doesn't work. The problem with the focus on execution is that such a focus feels really good. But all you have to do is look and you realize that the people who are succeeding with it and the people who are failing are doing pretty much the same things.
When you get down to where the difference between those succeeding and those failing, you’ll see that the difference is not the strategy. The difference is the structure.
It's the organization, the approach, the constraints and the meta processes that you build so that your business follows an MO. Every business, every person, every organization has an MO. We fall into a way of doing things. If you want to change the results that you're getting, you've got to change the way you do thing. And, if you change the tactics but you don't change “the way,” you're not going to change the results for the long term. You may get a short-term improvement, but that improvement is simply because you're paying more attention to something.
If you want to create predictable, scalable, sustainable, consistent growth outcomes, the focus has to be on the structure first. We know that because if you look at any successful process, you’ll see a strong structure. You've got a structure for your operations. You've got a structure for your engineering; you've got a structure to your consulting process. No operational leader would consider doing anything a clear structure. That structure precedes the strategy.
Sales and marketing is the only place where smart people spend so little time talking about structure. We spent a lot of time talking about strategy. We spend a lot of time talking about execution, but for the thing that actually makes the real difference most companies don't spend any time talking about.
Here's what I've learned. The difference, the single difference between the companies that succeed consistently and the companies that don't comes down to one word – plumbing. It's plumbing, they've got better plumbing.
I've seen companies that have crappy execution or crappy products and they succeed because they've got great plumbing. Now I'm not suggesting that you have crappy anything, but I am saying that you look at the companies that succeed, it's the plumbing, it's the structure that's different than the companies that are average or not succeeding.