— March 2, 2018
We seem to be, individually and organizationally, fixated on making things Easy.
To be honest, the job of selling complex B2B solutions isn’t and shouldn’t be viewed as easy. Customers buying B2B solutions are not confronting an easy task (otherwise, we wouldn’t have 63% ending in no decision made).
In are quest for easiness, we are cultivating a mindset in our organizations that does not match the reality of our buyer’s worlds.
We are spoon feeding everything to our people, setting expectations that things should be easy.
Too many wait for demand to be generated…..
They won’t prospect because it’s tough, and we have set the expectation that someone or something else will do it for them….
We provide them tools so they don’t have to research, they don’t have to prepare, they don’t have to think, they just follow the scripts….
We constantly look for short cuts, silver bullets, magical solutions…
We complain about lead quality because the customer isn’t ready to issue a purchase order…
If our pipelines are anemic, it’s not our responsibility to fill them, someone else wants to make it easy for us to focus on deals….
We increasingly specialize roles in the sales process to make it easier for each person to do their job…
We’ve instrument everything people do, so they no longer have to think…..and when they are required to do so, they struggle to respond.
We encumber our people with sales/marketing stacks, programs, processes, scripts, endless content, and meaningless metrics–all to make it easy.
We provide endless data and information but don’t help our people develop their knowledge and insight into how to leverage the knowledge in what they do.
But easy doesn’t work! It’s not producing results! It creates a dysfunctional culture and wrong expectations within our organizations.
Top performers are never looking for easy, partly because they thrive on the challenge, partly because they know easy doesn’t work.
Top performers are committed to mastery. They are driven by obsessive learning, relentless execution.
There is so much research on what drive top performance, and easy isn’t one of those things. Whether it’s the constant learning, the continued improvement, the 10,000 hours; achieving top performance isn’t easy, it’s hard work. And those who are committed to being top performers are committed to doing the hard work.
Somehow, our values and what we are trying to achieve has become distorted. We should be focused on radical simplification. But simple often isn’t easy. Simple removes the distractions. Simple helps improve effectiveness, simple helps improve efficiency.
Look at any top performer, while they make it look, easy, we have to really examine what they are doing and how they got to the point of making it look easy. Constant practice, constant learning, constant refinement, constant improvement.
We watch their performance, noticing no wasted motion or wasted effort. And they make it look easy.
In our obsession to make things easy, we don’t take the time to understand, learn from and emulate the hard work these top performers always do.
We need to stop our obsession on easy, focusing instead on simple. Maybe if we spent less time on making things easy, things would become simpler.
We need to stop recruiting people who are looking for something to be easy, they will never execute at the level we need them to execute.
We need to stop setting an expectation of easy but have the courage, discipline, and tenacity to do the hard work–as effectively and efficiently as possible.
We need to stop trying to provide all the answers, instead help our people learn how to learn, how to think, how to figure things out, how to discover the answers for themselves, how to overcome obstacles and win.
Easy doesn’t get results. Hard work consistently executed does.
Afterword: And if you are thinking, “what about our customers,” I think our customers are looking for the same thing. They are dealing with very tough problems and difficult challenges. They know that what they are doing is not easy–but we can do a lot to make things simple. Too many of the “easy” customer experiences I experience are far from simple and waste my time.