I’ve been asked these questions numerous times:
Couldn’t you reduce your workload to just delivering sales keynotes, limiting your time to delivering a one-hour message — and then fly home?
And, why do you still run sales calls?
My thinking and answers are similar to those of Peter Drucker although I didn’t know it until I read an interview with best-selling author, Jim Collins. He once asked Drucker why he spent so much time working with companies. Drucker said, “That is the laboratory!”
After reading this interview, I realized spending time in the laboratory is the reason I still engage in selling, training and consulting. Without my sales laboratory experience, it would be very easy to develop and deliver content that is great in theory — but has no practical application in the real sales world.
The same problem occurs in companies every day. You have the executive team making decisions but …
No one is spending time in the sales laboratory!
For example, is your CMO accompanying salespeople on calls, both inside sales and outside sales? If not, how can they possibly write good sales copy or create marketing collateral that speaks to the buyer if they haven’t observed sales conversations conducted with prospects and clients. Marketing directors might respond with, “But we run focus groups and surveys.” That’s nice, but nothing replaces a live sales laboratory conversation.
How about your CFO or COO? When is the last time they met with a client and interviewed them about how your accounting and operations systems were working — or not working — for them? What’s on the client’s wish list that would make it even easier to work with your organization?
CEOs, how about you? Are you hearing information secondhand because you are stuck in the corporate office reading reports and running meetings? Travel with your sales team and invest time in hearing from customers — the people that write everyone’s paycheck.
Chief selling officers face the same challenge. It’s easy for you to get caught up in analyzing reports and internal meetings rather than spend time in the sales lab with the sales team.
Peter Drucker was a smart man for several reasons. One was that he never forgot the importance of spending time in the laboratory.
If you’re serious about providing more value to customers, spend more time in your company’s sales laboratory.