There is no business without sales. It sounds like a pretty easy concept to embrace, but I can’t tell you how often I regularly see leaders focus on everything else but selling. It’s almost as if it is an afterthought as they tinker under the hood trying to build the perfect internal product/service delivery engine. In addition, when it comes to making discretionary investments in sales staff or marketing/advertising activities, they are often “penny wise and pound foolish.” Sure, we would all like to have a business where customers line up to buy from us because of how wonderful we are, however, business just doesn’t work that way. The best product or service almost never wins on those merits alone.
Targeting the right prospects requires thought and effort. Every business needs to know when to say no. It’s easy to say yes (or at least we think it is). Bad or mediocre clients lead to bad or medicore outcomes – it is that simple. The math doesn’t get better on its own. You need to have the expectation of a reasonable return on investment and manage to certain margin thresholds. There should also be some sense of operational synergy and a belief that you can deliver what’s expected within the expected time frame.
Way too many leaders spend far too much time tinkering with the internal operations of their business or 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.
As a leader, you are the public face of your organization. You are the ambassador to the rest of the business world. And, unless you have a product or service which requires no marketing or selling whatsoever, then you need to be our there meeting with people and talking about what it is you have to offer.