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Buying Time for Your New Initiative (A Note to the Sales Leader)

You’ve decided that you need to capture greater market share, and you are pushing hard for new revenue.

Or maybe you decided that you have the market share you should have, and now it’s time to improve your margins.

You might need to acquire new clients, and you are working with your team to develop new logos.

Your team might be challenged with selling well in an increasingly complex business environment, one is which it is more difficult than ever to differentiate and win business. So you are working on improving their skills.

Or maybe you have chosen a new strategy, a new sales process, or a new sales methodology.

No matter which of these ideas you might be pursuing, it likely won’t produce results fast. And with all of the hoopla around your new initiative, the rest of the organization will expect to see results faster than will be possible. New initiatives take time to produce results. The reason most people believe that something new doesn’t work is that they don’t give it enough time.

Here are three ideas to buy you the time you need.

Sell the Long View

When you sell the organization on the idea, paint a very real picture of how long it is going to take to produce results. If it’s the right decision, it’s the right decision. Most of the time the right decision is difficult to take because it costs so much in time and energy.

When you sell the initiative, make the case that you are driving for future results. You are positioning the company and the sales force for the future. Don’t sell quick fixes, magic bullets, or fast results. The more realistic you are about the time it will take to produce results, the greater your ability to stay the course when your initiative comes under pressure.

Celebrate Milestones

Selling the long view doesn’t mean that you suggest no results will be produced. When you tackle a new initiative, set some early, easily achieved milestones. When you achieve those milestones celebrate them. Make hitting the milestones a public spectacle so that the rest of the organization can see that progress is being made.

Demonstrating that you are making progress allows you to buy time. It also allows you to share the lessons that are learned long the way and show that others are being given the help they need to produce results.

Align the Organization

One way to buy time is to engage the rest of the organization on your initiative. If you can give them a stake in the game, you share responsibility for the new outcome you need.

Are you searching for increased market share? How do you need marketing to help you drive revenue?

Are you searching for higher profit margins? How does the rest of the organization have to change to make you worth paying more to obtain?

If you need new logos, how can you engage senior management is helping to develop your dream clients?

The more broadly you can share responsibility for your new initiative, the more likely it is to succeed. And the more likely it is that you are given the time you need to allow it to succeed.

Instead of buying time for your new sales initiative after it comes under pressure, proactively buy time by selling the long view, celebrating milestones, and aligning the organization.

Questions

Why do most initiatives fail?

Why do new initiatives come under pressure so quickly?

How do you set realistic expectations about the time it will take to transform the sales organization?

How do you keep the excitement up through the periods when there isn’t much to celebrate?

Whose help do you need to make your initiative succeed?


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