Which company has the better outlook: one whose leaders think they already know everything about their business, competitors and marketplace, or one with a culture rooted in constant learning and improvement? While it’s possible the former may be able to achieve some success, Anova believes the answer for achieving long-term, sustainable growth is with actions and strategies attained from consistently-sought after feedback. In order for a company to embrace the challenges that come with accepting it still has room to grow, it has to have the right mindset.
In her bestselling psychology book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, Ph.D. introduces two different mindsets – the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Dweck explains that people with fixed mindsets believe their success and qualities are essentially set in stone. They believe they are born with a certain set of skills, intelligence, and aptitudes. People with a fixed mindset tend not to seek out feedback and typically do not work on themselves because they simply do not believe they can change much. Their world and its trajectory are essentially set at birth.
Contrarily, people with a growth mindset believe their qualities and knowledge are only a starting point and that everything can be developed through learning and continuous improvement. The growth mindset is based on the theory that anything you do can be improved through hard work and effort. People with this mindset tend to have a passion for learning, feedback, and stretching themselves. Their world and its trajectory are continuously growing.
This psychological theory has dramatic implications in the business world. All businesses begin as a collection of people (and their mindsets). Each person on a team brings his or her own mindset to each area of focus. In fact, senior management teams often have a variety of mindsets amongst them. For example, the Head of Marketing may want to perform Win Loss Analysis to better understand buyer preferences and the competitive landscape. They are interested in learning and growing the company’s knowledge with the end result being improved market outcomes. This is the perfect example of a growth mindset. On the other hand, the Head of Sales may believe that he or she knows the answers to these questions already. He or she does not see the value or need in investing in measures to find out why the company is winning and losing. This fixed mindset inhibits their company from gaining valuable feedback.
What seems like a no brainer investment to one person is a waste of energy and resources to another. How does this conflict in mindsets play out?
Some decision makers decide not to collect data on how the company could improve and thus they lower the company’s ability to become self-aware. Ultimately, the company may fall further and further behind a competitor that is willing to get the feedback and learn.
It’s not always the company that starts out the best and fastest that wins the race. But the best companies are ones who create a culture where a growth mindset exists, where opportunities grow, and learning can foster true long term success.
It’s August now – the dog days of summer. Don’t let your sales be beat by the heat. Even though lots of people are on vacation, the office may be quieter, and productivity slower, there is no better time than now to prep for a strong year-end push.
Between now and Labor Day, you have the opportunity to get out ahead of everyone else. Prep. Review. Learn. And come September 5th, you’ll have a clear path for what’s coming over the final four months of the year.
Weed the Garden
Does your pipeline need some weeding? Most likely it does. Spend time reviewing your pipeline and really qualify your opportunities. Who are the prospects that you have the best chance of closing by year-end? Which prospects have been carried quarter-over-quarter with little progression? And finally, which prospects are taking resources, but are not real opportunities at all? By knowing your real opportunities and letting go of those that are dragging you down, you will elevate your sales activity these final months of the year and give yourself more power to connect with your true buyers.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Now that you know your best qualified prospects, ask yourself, “What can I do now while it is quiet to get ready for action in September?” Being proactive can be the key to getting ahead of the competition during a busy sales season. Know who you are going to reach out to and when, and put that information in your calendar including specific details about your outreach. If you prepare for those communications now, you will be freed up from having to do it next month or even later. Draft the email and hit “save.” You’ll be ready to hit “send” next month.
Back to School
The dog days of summer are great days for you to learn. Maybe your company launched a new service model or product enhancement that you need to better understand. Perhaps there is new marketing material that you simply have not had time to embrace yet and learn. Sales training is a great motivator because its sole purpose is to help you sell and service better than you have been. Going into the final months of the year is an opportune time to get motivated and brush up on skills that could use some bettering.
Don’t Forget Upsells
If you have a service team or account managers in your organization managing your prospects-now-turned-clients, they could be less busy than usual as well. Reach out to them and see what’s happening with those clients. Maybe there are upsell or cross-sell opportunities you can identify together to explore in Q4. Developing collaborative relationships with those servicing and managing existing clients can lead to happier customers, more stable reoccurring revenue, and ongoing upsell opportunities.
Envision December 2019
Where do you want to be at the end of this year? Take the time now to envision what your sales success will be at year end. What do you need to do between now and then to get there? It is not too soon to be thinking of these things. In fact, these quiet, hot days of summer offer the greatest space for you to envision, prep, and focus on your end game.
Spring training is over and now it is time for the season to begin. You go into the season feeling confident that you and your team have done everything you can to be ready. But surprises always happen. You win an unexpected game and lose against the worst team in the league. You face tough opponents with varying outcomes. The big question is “why?”
This doesn’t happen just on the baseball field. It happens every day in the sales field. Salespeople hear good and bad news all the time just like sports teams win and lose all the time.
While a coach may be asking, “Did we have the best pitcher for this game?” a sales manager may be asking, “Did our sales rep really understand what the prospect was looking for?” or “Were we really ready for that finals presentation?”
Understanding the real reasons a certain sales decision was made can be some of the best on-going sales training there is. And learning from both winning and losing situations give sales reps, teams, and managers the intel needed to prepare for the next competitive sales situation.
Win Loss research invites decision makers to give open and honest feedback about the sales engagement. It allows prospects to address many areas of the sales situation from what was most important, to the buyer’s mindset going into the sales process, to unvarnished feedback about the salesmanship demonstrated throughout the process. Sales reps and sales leaders can learn about the specific areas that need more work or training. Maybe it was the (lack of) product knowledge, maybe it was the pricing structure, or maybe even sluggish responsiveness.
When a Win Loss Analysis program is used on a routine basis, that is, when interviews are being conducted and analyzed week in and week out, sales leaders learn real-time. Corrections can be made, competitors can be better understood, and product positioning can be adjusted. In the moment sales training can happen within minutes, and on the flip side, successful sales reps can become examples of what’s winning and what’s working well in the field.
You can win more business with Win Loss Research. Understanding the outcome of the sales presentation and what went into the decision process can best prepare your sales team for the next big game. Win or lose, there’s always something to learn.