I just attended a conference where Boris Brott, one of Canada’s most famous symphony conductors was a keynote speaker. In his speech he noted that in the history of music there are only 12 notes. He also noted that most musical compositions only use 5.
Despite all of the creativity, the beauty and the memories for which music has been responsible; it has a very simple foundation. I realized how much businesses could learn by looking at the composition of music. Every musical composition from the most nuanced, classical music, to rock, rap and reggae involve the same 12 notes.
Companies are constantly trying to “differentiate” themselves. They are constantly trying to “add value” and to “innovate.” Too often companies make life complex for the sake of making things complex. They claim the complexity is necessary so that their clients and prospects will understand how they are different. The reality is the complexity just further commoditizes the business.
No one will mistake Beethoven’s compositions with Bruce Springsteen’s. They are clearly different, and they use the same 12 notes. Apply this principle to your marketing and product development. Simplifying can be the greatest differentiator of them all.
My salespeople are too creative.
I don’t have time to develop or manage the process.
Successful salespeople don’t want to be scripted or constrained.
A process will make my people feel constrained.
These are just four of the common obstacles I hear when I talk with companies about implementing a formal, documented sales process. The truth is that these obstacles are just excuses that enable the management of a company to avoid the sometimes painful work of developing, implementing and coaching their sales people on such a system. Companies that fail to implement such a system gain the short-term benefit of avoiding difficult work, but suffer the long-term consequence of failing to build a sustainable growth foundation.
The reality is that successful salespeople prefer having a system. An effective system allows a strong salesperson’s talents and creativity to come out in full force. Successful salespeople know that an effective system enables them to be more successful.
In this way, salespeople are no different than athletes. If you have ever seen the movie Glory, about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, you’ll see an example of what I am talking about. In the movie, Herb Brooks was being interviewed for the coaching position and explained that for the US to have a shot at competing with the powerful Soviet team it needed to develop a system that would enable lesser players to succeed.
History proved that Herb Brooks was correct (if you haven’t seen the movie I suggest you do). Implementing a documented sales process that is constantly and consistently reinforced in your company will put history on your side to.