Several years ago I was part of a restart venture. I say restart because the initiative had been tried ten years earlier and failed. Yet, here we were, a brand new sales force in all our glory, looking to find success when others had tried and failed before. The end of the story was that we were indeed successful. Why and how and what does it matter to you?
In the beginning of the endeavor we (the sales leadership) were given strict marching orders to focus on physician
practices and influence them to use our product. Initially I was game to go along. However, two discoveries impacted my thinking and lead me to take my team in a different direction.
First of all, some research that had been conducted years earlier indicated that the real starting point had to be the hospital – not the physician offices. Secondly, multiple conversations with our physicians confirmed this. When in doubt, ask your customers
. They generally know the answers, right?
We focused on hospitals and eventually accomplished what was not able to be accomplished by the original sales force ten years earlier. We established ourselves in the market as a viable competitor and grew beyond the original expectations of Senior Management.
Now, why does this matter to you? Before answering that let me add one additional detail. Since specific direction had been given to our sales leadership by the people we were responsible to, any change in strategic direction and execution carried a very real risk. If we insisted in changing direction and going against their explicit instruction, we were potentially risking our employment. We not only had to be right in our new strategy, but we also had to be able to show results quickly.
Don’t we all face the same scenario one way or another? Aren’t you in the situation of needing to constantly evaluate the underlying factors that influence your market place, be they internal or external? Don’t you need to adjust your strategy accordingly? Isn’t it crucial that you are producing real results right now?
We are in a turbulent time in our industry
. Dinosaurs and One Trick Ponies
– those who do the same thing the same way over and over - are in danger of becoming ineffective and noncompetitive. Their performance will suffer in the face of new challenges and market dynamics
You and I, on the other hand, must be vigilant… always. We must understand how the winds of change will impact us, our organizations and our industry. Most importantly, we also must be willing and able to change and grow.
Ok – you’re thinking “No problem! I am willing to change and grow
.” Really? What can you point to within the last six months that demonstrates those characteristics? Hmm…. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back…. or kick yourself in the rear as necessary.
We do this for a living, so it’s our profession – NOT a hobby. If we are not actively changing
and growing we’re losing ground to our competitors. If you cannot think of a way you’ve acted upon the need to grow and change you know what you must do this week
. Do it now, you cannot afford to put it off any longer!
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