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Choosing Your Sponsor Wisely for Sales Success

Choosing your sponsor wisely is even more important than I thought.

After 20+ years in the field I didn't expect to be surprised by anything in sales and project management. Peter Taylor's The Lazy Project Manager (not an affiliate link) has changed that.

The opening chapters of Peter's book have impressed upon me the significance of choosing your sponsor with care.

The question is not: "Can I make the sale?" It's: "How can I rig the game for success once we've made the sale?"

If you're a Hit And Run-type salesperson, I've probably lost you. But you'll find out quickly enough... throwing the ball down the field to the implementation team, without having set up the conditions for success, is a game plan for failure. The project team in charge of installing the solution may well improvise their way to a win but you sure have made it hard for them.

For those who care that what you sold is what gets delivered... Peter Taylor has described this key strategic element of the sale and execution in a way I haven't seen done before.

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(Image by rawpixel from Pixabay)

The Impact Of Choosing Your Sponsor With Care

Whether we're in an academic setting and finding the right sponsor for our smallsat development project...

...or seeking the "buyer behind the buyer" who is the real executive customer up the food chain...

...having the right sponsor in place means the difference between having the support we need to achieve change -- or the unpleasant discovery that the project is doomed to fail (check out those percentages) because it lacks both intent and resources.

I spent most of 2016 working with a change management expert who only dealt with tech firms of 1000+ staff.

I saw how important getting the right sponsor in place was then, but my eyes and brain were focused more on operational issues of managing change. Looking back, he did a good job of what Peter Taylor recommends... and the results of his projects testified to his deliberate efforts up front.

Go get Peter's book. It'll chance the way you view sales as well as project management, and your success rates will rise if you implement his recommendations.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist. Book a time to talk with Jason about your situation by clicking here. <<

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Your Environment Is Critical To Your Problem Solving Ability

After more than two and a half decades "in the real world" I'm astonished to again be slapped in the face by an idea I profess to already understand.

The environment you're operating in is absolutely critical to your ability to solve problems.

This is one of those things we nod and say we "know." It's easy to bypass in our rush to get results.

It's a lot like the "You Are Not Your Customer" copywriting admonition that sometimes needs to be heard a thousand times before the writer suddenly 'gets it.'

But the fact is we are far more accepting of things as they appear than we could be.

If you get used to someone rolling a hand grenade into your office every day, you'll start accepting that as part of your environment. As a normal event you cannot change. A thing you have to put up with.

You'll start believing things about yourself to be true due to that daily happening.

And since you believe those things to be true ("I must accept this," "It's just something I have suffer through," "Everyone must have something like this going on, and I'm like everyone else") you'll behave in ways consistent with those stories.

In other words, you will either DO or NOT DO certain things because of what you believe about yourself. And those beliefs come in a major part from your environment.

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The Environment You Accept Directly Impacts What You Will DO or NOT DO

Your environment is critical to your ability to confront and solve problems.

I recently made a major change to my environment.

Immediately I noticed things shifting. The external appearances were changing because beliefs I had about myself were changing.

I was no longer the person who put up with the "hand grenade being rolled into my office every day."

After a couple of weeks in the new environment, I did a quick study of my effectiveness.

Now I must say I believe most competent executives are effective for perhaps four good hours a day.

The rest of the time they're less effective. They believe they're doing things, but a simple Pareto analysis demonstrates they experience a big fall-off after those four hours.

My check on effectiveness in the previous environment showed me I'd been doing competent work for ONE hour a day.

And I have to share that I was at my desk (and the computer screen) for eight to ten hours every day.

Make The Change: Your Environment Is Critical To Your Effectiveness

One of the huge environmental changes I've made is to move my office away from where I live.

It's now a deliberate choice to go to that office. I now spend far fewer hours...perhaps four to six...at the office and in front of the computer screen.

I'm far more effective. There are no disruptions. I get in, and I get out. I'm not stuck at the screen.

And most of all, I no longer have the belief that I have to be here at the computer to accomplish things.

Ask yourself: "What if I don't really 'know' that my environment is critical to my success?"

Take the time to change your environment. Switch it up for a week and observe what happens: not only in the external world, but in your own head. How you think about yourself.

I'll bet you find you've been weighed down by a bunch of nonsense for a very long time, and you can let all that stuff go.

>> Want to talk to Jason? Book your session by clicking here! <<

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Documentation Is Important: More Valuable Than You Think

Documentation is important, gosh darn it.

I had a conversation with a highly experienced business owner late last week that gave me some feedback I found alarming.

We were talking about process improvement, and he told me what he thought about some of the copy on my website that mentions "documentation."

He didn't think it was important. Nor did the wording tell him enough about what my company does.

And it's my fault.

I haven't explained this well enough.

Documentation is important. Far more important than you think.

When people see that word, "Documentation," I can understand that their eyes glaze over.

It sounds boring.

"Yeah, yeah," they say. "I know about documentation."

After all, all you have to do is write things down...right?

And then you're documented.

No.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Good Documentation Is The Key To Learning

Unfortunately, that's where the understanding ends for most business people.

And when they see that word, "documentation," their brains shut off. It's already dealt with. No big deal. Not even a problem.

Right there: that's the fail point.

When you think you've already handled something...that's the very item you should be reviewing.

Since my company documents other companies for a living, I can tell you a few things. Let's begin with this: most organizations are pretty darn poor about documentation.

They don't have process maps.

They certainly don't understand their metrics.

They did not choose their measures deliberately, instead abdicating that responsibility to some tech who came in to install their CRM.

Let's Change Your Definition of Documentation

Most organizations are way off when it comes to effective documentation.

Let me state this plainly: data collection is NOT documentation.

Especially data collection by default.

Have you noticed that many companies collect data...and then have no idea what to do with it?

That is a symptom, resulting directly from the problem of not having chosen good, business-specific KPIs.

Let me continue: if you don't document well, you can't learn anything.

The story will change over time, and the lessons you thought you learned will become invalidated.

Let's say you've got a knockout sales team of three people. They land a multi-million dollar contract and come back swaggering.

That's great.

But how do you repeat that experience?

The answer is to get busy documenting exactly what happened.

Documenting with clarity.

If you don't, two years from now Mary and John from the superstar sales team will be gone...and Sam will be telling a hero story that so aggrandizes his own involvement as the fulcrum of the sale you'll never be able to separate him from the results.

And how do you duplicate that?!

The opportunity to grasp exactly what did happen will have long been lost.

And your organization won't learn a thing.

If there's one thing I could persuade you of here, it's this: When you see the word "documentation" from now on, pay attention. Get alert. Look at it and its surroundings carefully.

What measures are being used? Data collected? Will they help you record a solid story, one that stays consistent over time, one that gives you the tools to derive repeatable results?

From my perspective, this is the key: the element that makes your company a learning organization. And you must become a learning organization to adapt and survive and thrive. Stagnant organizations who don't adjust and improve over time simply go extinct.

You say you know that.

But your documentation tells me otherwise.

>> Want to discuss your situation with Jason? Book a paid consultation so we can dig into it and really help you. <<