You run Sales at your company.  You’re sitting alone in your office.  It’s Friday, 6:30 at night.  The parking lot has thinned out.  It’s dark, and you’re not used to the time change yet.  You just finished the last of the 7 conference calls you had today.  Your brain hurts.  Your company is in the midst of the annual planning process.  You have a board presentation next week on your strategy to make the number.  Another weekend shot because of your workload.  You have a long flight Monday morning.  You hope there’s no wifi on the plane so you can just think.   


Does any of this sound familiar?  If you’re a Sales Leader, I guarantee it does.  What are you thinking in this scenario?  Here are just four of the 100 things going through your head:


  • Are we outpacing our competitors?
  • What are the best companies doing differently?
  • Are we focusing on the right slice of the market?
  • Is my team good enough?


If you read this blog regularly (or even occasionally), you’ve noticed a recent theme.  We keep suggesting you review our recently published Annual Research Reports.  This post examines who should, and should not, request a copy of the research.  Spoiler alert: the person I’ve described above definitely should. 


When Sales and Marketing Leaders ask about the research, they have some common questions.  Here they are:


“Who is the research designed for?”


There are 2 versions of this research.  One is for the head of Sales.  It’s called “How To Make Your Number in 2015.” The other is for the head of Marketing.  It’s called “How To Increase Marketing’s Contribution To 2015 Revenue.”  The Sales report focuses on how leading sales organizations are making the number.  The Marketing report covers how leading Marketers are increasing their revenue contribution. 


“Which companies benefit the most from receiving this research?”


If you’re expecting a list of industries, you’ll be disappointed.  Companies who benefit the most from this research have cultural, not industrial, similarities.  They:


  • Need increased revenue growth.
  • Value speed over perfection.
  • Can point to a list of frustrating failed initiatives from past years.
  • Are unsatisfied with the status quo.
  • Have leaders who possess genuine curiosity and strong points of view.


“What will this research tell me?”


The research will tell you if you have a Sales and Marketing strategy.  Most leaders think they do.  Most leaders are wrong.  Most strategies are just a collection of disconnected tactics.  The research literally helps you identify the gaps in your organization’s strategy. 


“What happens after I read the research?”


Are you the top Sales or Marketing Leader at your company?  If so, you may request a visit from someone like me.  I’ll ask you to complete a checklist characterizing your company’s current state.  Then I’ll look at the areas where you have gaps.  I’ll explain what the best practices are for each area.  At the end of the meeting I’ll tell you whether you are likely or unlikely to make the number next year.


“Should Sales Reps, Sales Managers, Sales Ops VPs, and others read this research?”


Maybe.  In some cases you may have the ear of top leadership.  If you are thoughtful and upwardly mobile, you might benefit from it.  But be forewarned.  If you don’t have power to make organizational changes, you may become frustrated.


“Strategy is nice, but I’m out of time.  I need (insert 3 key initiatives here) done immediately.”


I get it.  Use the research to double-check your plan.  If you undertake initiatives in the wrong order, they’ll be less effective.  They’ll also cause unnecessary disruption. 


Strategy is hard.  If it was easy, everyone would have a strategy that worked.  In today’s ultra-competitive environment, strategy provides a clear competitive advantage.  If you want to stress-test your strategy, have a look at our research.  Who knows?  You may spend fewer evenings sitting in your office, wondering where the daylight went.