stock-illustration-16835359-jumpstart-solutionExcited about your sales career? Good. You should be! However, there is no one size-fits-all reason for individual sales success, though one of several critical variables that determine successful longevity in professional sales is an incumbent’s mastery of existing systems and their ability to identify, learn, unlearn and adopt systemic sales processes that may accelerate or impede their professional success.

So, what is a “system” anyway? BusinessDictionary.com calls it: A set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, OR solve A PROBLEM.

But here are a few problems about the problem:

  • How we view the problem (is it a systemic or individual problem?)
  • The original problem has evolved (Hey, have you guys seen this?)
  • The problem has complex inter-dependencies with other problems (Too big. Not my problem.)
  • You’re in a static, inflexible system (You know our guidelines, what are you doing?)
  • You’re working with the author of the system (Since when did you become the expert?)

Confession and Embarrassment

Early in my career I was employed by a software company and was the only rep to make quota for 6 straight months. In an impromptu meeting with our team, the CEO asked “Chris how did you do it?” I explained that I’d personally and quietly made small, iterative, but continual improvements in a flawed systemic process that ALL of the reps were supposed to follow. I was young, dumb, and totally clueless as to the politics and power moves being made within hierarchies of management I’d never been exposed to at the time.

The result: I embarrassed my boss , my teammates felt as though I was a prima donna, and the author of our systemic sales processes was unintentionally discredited. When I finally achieved my annual quota I was relieved… not happy, and felt like crap. The company dismantled their original sales process and things did improve… without anyone seeking one word of advice from my naive, arrogant a**.

Lessons Learned

  • Master the systems you use and quickly discern how best to win within existing constructs.
  • Understand the difference between systemic and personal failure
  • Test the receptivity of management to new ideas and then adapt to win.
  • Nobody believes you’re an expert until you do what nobody else is doing. Be humble in your achievement.
  • Quickly give other “experts” credit and they will advocate for you when you’re not around.
  • Always be a team player. Sales is a collaborative profession and winning alone… sucks.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd