“Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude”
This week I am visiting Amman for work. The scenario of my trip was very similar to most of the others, until a meeting I had this morning. One of my clients managed his family wealth from a beautiful old building right at the beginning of the world famous Rainbow Street. As usual, we talked about the break trough technologies in the financial services industry, his investment strategy and its possible optimization as well as the current appealing investment opportunities in the EuroZone. After we started wrapping the conversation he mentioned that he is also the CEO and founding partner of a local start up company. He also proposed to introduced me to his team. The discussion started was initially around their product and eventually evolved around their sales strategy and sales people. Their team shared the processes they have adopted to develop their business. I asked them what they do day to day – their efforts involved cold calling, meetings, dispersed discussions, etc. The main challenges I was told their phase were that many of the business owners in Amman did not understand how digital marketing can help them expand their business. Some of them also thought that the service is expensive. The sales also did not handle rejection too well.
After I listened to them, I engaged a conversation – it looked like they had no clearly defined strategy. Also it seemed they had no specific target customer in mind. I started asking them open questions – in order to define what the right strategy for them would be. At the end of the day a sales strategy, no matter how complex consultants want to make it look, is nothing more than having a clear idea on achieving a given sales result (i.e. answering the question what revenue they wanted to have at the end of the quarter, year, etc?), how your organisation will achieve that, and finally defining how the efforts towards achieving that goal could be qualified). Once the sales team came up with both their sales strategy and desired target, I also suggested they could use some of the common sales frameworks such as SPIN, NEAT or AGILE. We also used the 80/20 rule and identified what are the key potential clients they need to first educate about their service and than on-board before the year end. Before, I left their office, I mentioned that most new sales happen in average after the 12th interaction with the potential client. Also reminded them that sales is indeed a game where people need to be thick skinned and learn how to deal with rejection. We agreed to remain in touch and monitor the progress their designed strategy.
Start up companies that have great innovation potential are often product centered. They tend to have great product expertise and agility. My recent experience in Amman, makes me think that sometimes, especially in terms of business development, clearly defined strategic objectives, more structure, grind and focus can be useful to accelerate their growth.