A client called me last week to ask if amacus was still working. Yes, I said. Why do you ask? “Ten days ago absolutely everything our sales team was doing simply stopped triggering any buyer actions.” Well, I said, the bad news is that what you’ve been doing successfully up until now isn’t working anymore. The good news: you know it. The even better news: your competitors don’t (they’re still doing what they’ve been doing all along, unaware that anything in the market may have changed).
Firms that can spot + fix mistakes faster than their competitors have an enormous advantage. As Victor Cheng notes, this is the key to what successful firms do during economic downturns to grow market share.
Often there’s a sense that, in sales, it’s impossible. A frequent complaint of senior executives is “Why can’t I get information on our sales just as quickly as I can search the Internet?” according to Tom Davenport in a just published article in the MIT Sloan Management Review. Davenport’s latest research suggests “few organizations have reached an optimum with regard to how fast important information reaches in boxes, desks and brains.” When chief executives don’t feel a strong need for quicker information, it’s often because “nobody else got it any faster.” What if they did? Ahem.
Intriguingly, Davenport’s research suggests chief executives have an added appetite for faster data flowing on cash-related and employee productivity issues during economic downturns:
Davenport notes that “the time to speed up important information is before it’s needed, not after. By the time you’re in the crisis, it’s too late — and slow, inflexible information will undoubtedly have contributed to your problems.”
The real goal is faster decision making that affects business performance. As Davenport notes, “when firms don’t find out quickly that, for example, a decline in sales has occurred, they can’t address the problem quickly.” We’re pushing this paradigm further. Our clients are getting real-time data on the buyer impacts of sales efforts that can foretell future crises if they fail to make changes. They know when they need to make changes in their practices to avert future crises.