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“We need sales now”. This phrase plays out in everyday business. What does it mean?

Sales people, feeling pressure, go about making calls (assumes a call = order) and management fuels the fire by wielding their authority. Yet, what’s the plan? Let’s consider a slightly different situation. I wonder what management would say if someone said, “let’s change the layout of the plant or warehouse (or any area of a business) now”? Of course, immediate reactions range from asking why, to noting how involved such a project would be (time, money, resources and risks). Back to “We need sales now”. It is interesting how managers/leaders wield their authority knowingly or not, demanding instant sales with “facts” such as (but not limited to): We know the customers. All we need to do is ask for more. Our customers buy from our competitors, so let’s change that. Get out in front of them and they will buy. It’s been 90 days and it’s time to make rain (I love that one).​ STOP the madness! If you can’t instantly change a plant layout, what makes you think sales is instant gratification? NEWS FLASH: IT’S NOT - yes, I said it’s not. The diagram that follows, conveys what many consider their “business plan”. Where are the details – strategies and tactics, followed by timelines and measurables?

All too often, business leaders make statements such as, “They know what they need to do”, to “Don’t complicate it”. Really? Here’s a revised diagram focused on the sales discipline with 4 key steps to success. The two areas in red are added to convey the need for direction by management (the strategy) and the necessary sales tools to be successful.

So, do you need sales, a new plant layout or…. a strategy - based on effectively utilizing valuable, limited resources (sales resource optimization) and managing the process? I hope the latter. PS: This scenario plays out in small and large, as well as public and private business. I know, because I have been a part of it. Interesting.

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