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Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Creation vs Management

Today I am pleased to share a guest post from my friend David Piacitelli.  David is the president of Top Line Systems, a company that focuses on the next generation sales organization for manufacturing companies.  He is a fellow AME member and supports the Northeast Region Board to share best practicesWith David's sales background he brings a unique perspective of the voice of the customer to our region.  You can see this from his post.

To create is difficult. To manage is difficult.

To do both together can be downright impossible. The bottom line is, a company needs both to grow. As with my other diatribes, I know that this topic can apply to a range of activities at work and in life, but as usual, I will focus on its application in the sales world.

O.k., we all know the formal definition of "creation" and of "management", so I won't spend valuable copy space on that; instead, I want draw your attention to how each plays a role in growth of sales and growth of business.

Regardless of the size of your business, the need for both creation and management is there. As a business owner, manager or employee, we initially focus our time on creation. As the job or business grows, more time shifts toward management of the stuff that has been created and we inevitably feel the tug between the two. Which is more important? If we don't create the deals, then we will have nothing to manage and if we don't manage the deals that we have created, we will always be creating and never managing.

This is a very straightforward concept, I know, but consider how this simple choice can impacts an organization's effectiveness? How do you manage the creation process in your business?

Here is my premise - selling is about creation, not about management. This could get really convoluted, so I am going to pose a scenario that illustrates the point that I am trying to make:

Every company (regardless of size) can point to a required growth metric. It could be dollars, it could be numbers of parts, or it could be numbers of customers.

Most companies dispatch their sales effort in a direction aimed at delivering against the growth metric.

Many companies find that they produce a result, just not the one that they aimed to produce.

There are a million different excuses that answer the "why", but only one practical explanation - too much focus on managing, not enough focus on creation. Here's what I mean - if a sales process allows time for creation, but uses the same resources to manage what has been created, guess what happens? Yes, the creation process stops, the created opportunities get managed (see the bottleneck possibilities?), the predictable, repeatable statistics of selling take over and you end up with an accurate close percentage on too small a number of opportunities.

It is only until you factor in time that the true impact of the conflict becomes apparent. I realize that this statement is vague, so let me throw out a statistic that you can use to measure against - the AVERAGE sales cycle for ANY business is 12-18 months from opportunity creation to realized revenue (if you work on complex, long-term projects, you know that the numbers are higher).

Always remember, the sale is the result, not the process.

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