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Beware Of This Sales Improvement Trap

Change is scary.

In both our personal and professional lives, humans are drawn to what is familiar. We fall into routines, schedules, and habits that become very hard to break. And if someone tries to get us to accept a new product or idea that is radically different than what we’ve encountered before, we might just run the other way screaming.

But change is also necessary . . . and exciting.

You know that your organization needs to change if you are going to keep pace with the evolving market. And when it comes to consumer products, you don’t want last year’s iPhone or last year’s Lexus. You want the new one with all the bells and whistles.

Nearly a century ago, Raymond Loewy, often called the father of industrial design, put forth a theory that captured these opposing feelings about change. He said that on the one hand people experience neophilia, a love for new things. And on the other, they experience neophobia, a fear of new things. In order to navigate between these contrary forces, he recommended that designers create the Most Advanced Yet Acceptable (MAYA) products. These products would take a familiar shape while gradually introducing more avant-garde design and cutting-edge features.

When most companies start going down a sales ops initiative, they often adopt this “MAYA” mindset. They take a crawl-walk-run approach, moving as slowly as possible so as to avoid causing internal disruption. They first get a team in place, and then establish some basic procedures before investigating best practices that set leading teams apart.

In general, going slowly is a good way to deal with the turmoil of introducing a major change. But unfortunately, it sometimes saddles companies with inefficient processes, excessive headcount, and limited capabilities.

In our research, we’ve found that it’s often best to enable organizations to experience the full benefit of a change much more quickly. And that in turn enables them to be much more competitive, more quickly. Going slow is often a much easier path internally and less likely to “upset the apple cart”, but it also lowers the bar on what the sales ops team can accomplish. While your company is learning to crawl-walk-run, you need to be aware that your competitors may be opting for a much faster approach.

You can learn more about the different paths that Sales Ops teams have taken in this webinar, Developing a Winning Sales Operations Roadmap.

Our advice: don’t let fear and internal strife lower the bar on what your team can accomplish. Set the bar high by following best practices right from the beginning.

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