We lose our drive to succeed
When it comes to sports, the goal is clear, to win. No one embarks on a blind date looking for a disastrous story or a free dinner. Most people date hoping to find someone not ordinary, someone they really like. When it comes to a career, many people settle into coasting mode. Professional ambition melts into a rote annual review process with many doing just enough to get a ‘good’ rating. I dare say most people don’t begin a career wanting to be ‘good enough.’ Why did you go into your profession? Did you want to be better then others you had seen? Did you want to teach people to work smarter and not harder? Channel that drive and use it to push you forward. You may not always win, but its clear that having a personal goal and striving to reach it has a massive effect on your ability to take chances.
We stop learning
As children we are always expanding our skill set. Whether it be learning to walk, becoming skilled at a sport, expanding our vocabulary, excelling in studies or quickly adapting to new technology. Ever had a problem with your iPhone? Ask a 12 year old.
Taking chances is less scary when you realise you are not alone and innovating at your company doesn’t always mean creating something from the ground up, it can be bringing proven best practices to your organisation. Spending time to network with peers, learn from vendors, and listen to industry analysts is extremely important.
A good example for how sales have changed is to think about the process for buying a car in 1960 versus now. In 1960 you might have walked into a Chevy dealership and asked for a test drive and a salesman would extol the benefits of the model you were eyeing. Buyers now are influenced by various advertising media, reviews, and comparison sites.
“67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” (SiriusDecisions)
Therefore the majority of the sales cycle happens before they even set foot in a dealership. This trend is happening across B2C and B2B organisations. Buyers are smarter, so sales organisations have to be smarter too. To support this increasingly dynamic environment, it’s critical that sales operations is always learning so they are equipped to best support their sales organisation.
We take false comfort in consistency
Change is hard. Often things ‘work’ and people think, why mess with them? However, if you are not innovating, I can assure you that your competitors are. I’ve noted how buyers are getting more savvy and changing their behaviours as well.
“57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.” (CEB)
It’s important that sales operations professionals have an open mind to change and able to bring sales on that innovation journey. Once we accept that change is a constant, it’s easy to be more adventurous. Trying something new, we must accept that it may fail. And that’s ok, because its better then trying nothing at all because its a guarantee that the world is ever changing around us.
Embracing failure can be a powerful motivator. It is clear when you look at small children or exploring musicians trying a new piece of music or sportsmen honing their craft that failure is clearly a necessary part of improving. Long held practices around dating can be challenged and changed, even later in life. With the same attitude to accept failure professionally more innovation becomes possible. Consider in your life what you accept a margin of failure around and try to bring that attitude to your career, and I suspect your progression will leap frog. Why crawl when you can run?