I’m going to be writing about survival. Sales survival.
How to do you keep your job if you’re in a new sales position or how do you keep afloat if you’ve been given one of those “greenfield” opportunities (aka you have no relationships in the market)?
If you’re selling in the tech sector you may well have heard of (or even be selling) “Agile development”. Agile is a smart way of saying “don’t overrate how smart you are”.
If you’re geeking out, you may know Agile development was developed as an alternative to old “waterfall development” techniques by uber-geeks.
“Waterfall development” is when you come up with a bright idea on a whiteboard (or in my case the shower) and then you spend several man years developing a shiny fully-functional product. When you finally wheel the product out into the market, it turns out nobody really needs it (even if you’ve conducted plenty of research and focus groups.)
The Agile approach is about developing something quickly and getting it out to the market with the expectation that your first effort will largely suck.
The goal is to get feedback from the market and adjust your product accordingly. You keep doing this routine until eventually your product does not suck and actually meets some of the market’s needs.
Agile has already caught on in marketing and seems to make just as much in sales.
When you get a new sales gig or a “greenfield” assignment, you may as well assume your first efforts to sell in that market are going to largely suck. You need to do them anyway. Learn from the feedback and adjust quickly.
In the posts that follow I’m going to suggest things you can do to improve your chances of keeping your new sales job but I’m going to suggest an “agile selling” approach.
I’m going to suggest you prepare but I’m going to assume you don’t have much time to prepare before your boss starts asking for the checks to start rolling in (I’ve been there several times). I’m going to keep the posts about preparation to a bare minimum (not my natural style). Then I’m going to talking about “getting out there” and contacting people. After that I’m going to come back to tuning your efforts and taking them to the next level.
The clock is always ticking in sales. The best idea I have is to be prepared but not overdo it. Get out there. Get kicked in the lower regions, try to improve and then get out there again.
Hopefully you will keep your new sales job (then eventually live long and prosper.)