In May of 2011, I had the opportunity of a lifetime: to be part of a full-arrested landing on the deck of the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier. As part of the experience, I stayed on the ship overnight to observe flight operations and then catapulted off the ship the next morning.
What these pilots do is no small task. With a runway of only about 500 feet, the pilot must use the plane’s tailhook to snag an arresting wire in order to stop without landing in the ocean. These wires are made from woven steel designed to stop a 54,000 lb. aircraft traveling 150 miles per hour in only two seconds.
Military pilots don’t start their careers by landing on aircraft carriers in the middle of the night and they don’t do it alone. There are more than 6,000 military personnel on an aircraft carrier and their operations are not made safe by overlooking the tactical elements. They are maniacal about process. It was evident when they would muster, line up shoulder-to-shoulder and then walk the deck to make sure not a single speck of debris could get sucked into an engine. Their intense focus on having a process around the tactical elements is what allows them to scale to handle the most complex maneuvers.
Imagine if they had the same wild abandon approach that most companies use with their SDR teams? So often businesses try to scale sales by focusing their attention on the most strategic aspects of the process. For example, it seems that founders believe that in order to grow sales, they have to hire an enterprise sales rep and then transition all the core competency to be successful, instead of focusing on the tactical elements that will help them get in the door for the strategic conversation.
Sales prospecting CAN be the most important early indicator of the market. After all, reps are on the front lines. Prospecting teams have more live dialogues with the market than any other area of the business. Yet, what gets measured and discussed in the boardroom are the handful of deals that are closed.
It’s time to shift the paradigm and focus on the process that makes these SDR, lead generation, inside sales and business development teams more successful.
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