What Scott Berkun wrote about in The Myths of Innovation also applies to sales. Don’t believe the myths in innovation or the ones in sales.
Innovation is not likely to be promoted by management and you might be selling on your own.
You may think that an innovative idea will be promoted by management. That’s not what Berkun found. Few managers recognize that their training and experience is designed to protect what already exists, not promote innovation. Management as a discipline is old school command and control.
Innovation requires rethinking what management is. To be a successful manager with innovation, your job is to provide the environment for talented people to do their best work and provide cover for their ideas.
A great sales manager should have the ability to motivate and inspire a salesman. A great sales manager should offer new ideas to develop more effective sales strategies and remember the hard work that went into a sale that didn’t come to fruition.
The reality is that the people selected for sales management are often not the same people who can motivate and inspire a sales team. You are lucky if you can look to your manager to help you sell. All too often, you will not find someone who can provide the guidance for what you need to sell more.
Eureka is a myth for innovation and sales.
The innovation myth is that the great ideas come in a flash in an epiphany. You may remember the myth about Archimedes who ran from his bathtub yelling Eureka after realizing that he could use water displacement to distinguish between the density of gold and false gold. Except the myth is not true.
Innovation progress doesn’t occur in a straight timeline and it involves a long sequence of experimentation and discovery. Archimedes worked on his problem long before that bath.
What’s that mean for your sales success? Too many salespeople think that it will take one sales call and their customer will miraculously understand why he should buy. Eureka moments don’t often happen in sales. Customers realize they should buy after you implement your sales process where you communicate effectively and your customer understands why he should buy.
The lone inventor is a myth.
Henry Ford is the inventor of the automobile, right? Wrong. That’s the myth that there is a lone inventor.
Back in the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci was creating designs and models for transport vehicles. Karl Benz from Germany created the first true automobile in 1885-1886. Ford built on previous knowledge. He’s just easier to remember.
What you have are multiple people innovating starting with the person who came up with the initial idea for an item. Then there’s the first person to build a working model. Last, it’s the first person to successfully commercialize the invention.
Sound like sales? It’s a myth when salespeople believe that the sales process revolves around them. It’s at your peril when you forget about the other people who work to make your selling successful.
Could you sell without people in credit, operations, delivery, tech service, manufacturing and customer service? No way. Your sales success depends on your working with so many other people doing their jobs well so you can deliver your sales promises. You may be the one with the sales quota, but you don’t sell by yourself.
Myths are everywhere. Just don’t believe the ones in sales.