This is tenth of several blogs delving into the origin and meaning of my sales leadership “Words of Wisdom”. You can access the complete list here stm360.com/blog/words-of-wisdom-for-sales-leaders
Some shortcuts can be good. For example when driving, you discover a route that gets you from point A to point B faster.
Taking shortcuts as a sales leader typically means skipping steps in a process – with the hope of getting to the desired result with less effort. Shortcuts for sales leaders almost NEVER work.
The most common short cut mistakes I see are in hiring and deal management.
I spend a lot of time working with sales organizations on their hiring processes. Typical steps include initial screen, hiring manager interview, onsite interview day with hiring team and experiential exercise, reference check, offer. When positions are unfilled and the pressure builds, sales leaders start skipping important steps such as experiential exercise and/or reference checking. The result? Bad hires. And a restart of the hiring process.
Sales processes are defined (and refined) for a reason – they are the proven path to get a deal from point A (Initial conversation) to point B (Closed won deal). Many things need to happen in that journey such as discovery, solution creation/validation, stakeholder buy-in, understanding customer approval process, proposal, close.
I frequently observe sales people execute discovery calls then jump right to a proposal – skipping over several steps designed to qualify and build momentum. They think that their deal will be “fast tracked” and executing the other steps will slow it down. The result? Stuck deals. Poorly qualified pipeline.
Why do people take shortcuts?
I think we are conditioned to get to places faster. But in sales and sales leadership, getting to that desired destination requires thoroughness and discipline. What many people don’t understand is that thoroughness is the fastest way to success.
Sales leaders are under constant pressure to deliver results. It can be tempting to try short cuts. Stay the course, hold the line, don’t give in to temptation – shortcuts are the fastest way to failure.