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Daily Leadership Thought #87 – Focus on The Outside (Sales) and The Inside Will Follow

February 1, 2011

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Every business must build a scalable and repeatable sales process.  If “cash is king,” then “sales must be queen (or a co-monarch).”

Much of our success is based on our ability to fully understand the business environment outside our organization.  Way too many leaders spend far too much time tinkering with the internal operations of their organization (often when their sales are stagnating or failing).  The bottom line is that unless there is consistent and reliable sales activity, the internal operations will be a challenge anyway.  There are very few expense problems that a revenue solution can’t solve and minimal revenue problems that an expense solution will fix long-term.

Working outside your company and consistently selling your products/services is much harder work than tinkering internally.  It forces you to constantly build new relationships and put yourself out there.  It means you must risk rejection, sometimes on a daily basis.  It makes you deal with the dynamic realities of the marketplace rather than the more controllable environment of your internal operations.  It requires you to accept the truth about your business decisions rather than hide from or rationalize them.  There is no better test of the business future of an organization than its ability to attract new clients and penetrate new markets.

Most leaders I know would get better results if they spent more time looking outside their organization for opportunities and seizing them rather than worrying about what may or may not happen once the deal is done.  Your job is to continually stress your operational capacity to redefine what’s possible.  You need to be on the edge of what’s happening out there and be proactive about shifting accordingly.  Hire talented people and hold them accountable for making sure the internal delivery systems work once the sale is made.

Stress your organization from the outside-in not inside-out.