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The DNA of Sales Innovation

A few weeks ago, my colleague Mary Ann McLaughlin wrote a fantastic article that kicked off this series titled “The Essential Sixth Stage." As humans, we cope with tragedy or crisis by emotionally traveling through 5 distinct stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance). The theme of her post is how we elect to respond to the COVID crisis will determine the future viability of our businesses.

Mary Ann suggested a 6th stage to the healing process…”Perfection.” By doing so, she identified a North Star that we should all set our compasses to. The “Perfection” means progressively improving while you strive for perfection and I believe innovation is a key component, particularly in these current times. Innovation in a time of crisis has proven to reward those companies that go on offense rather than accepting a fate by hunkering down.

According to McKinsey in a June 17th article, Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever. The article points out that companies who go on offense (innovate) by adopting a “growth mindset” were richly rewarded vs. the companies that took a "fixed" mindset.

Organizations that maintained their innovation focus through the 2009 financial crisis emerged stronger, outperforming the market average by more than 30 percent and continuing to deliver accelerated growth over the subsequent three to five years."

So how does innovation begin?


If we solve our customers’ problems, we’ll solve our own.®

This mantra is a key philosophy embedded in our training that serves as the DNA of innovation. The way we begin the process of solving our customers' problems starts by "seeing the world through their eyes." Tackling customer problems from the customer’s point of view (their Operating Reality) helps us remove our own bias from the equation and focus on driving value.

Necessity is the mother of Invention. Businesses today need more help than ever!

Examples of innovation can be found anywhere a salesperson pivots away from attempting to just sell products…but rather asking diagnostic questions designed to uncover and solve problems that aren’t typically part of their domain. I recently saw where a large international company that primarily sells office equipment (copiers & document workflow technology) launched a bundled package of technology designed to help ensure workplace safety as businesses reopened. By examining the problem from a customer’s perspective (how do I bring people back to work safely?), this company repurposed existing areas of expertise, added a few new ingredients, and delivered a solution to help solve a huge customer problem. There are similar examples everywhere; however, nothing is possible unless you direct your effort to understand the problem from the customer's perspective first. Remember, customers don’t buy your products…. they hire your brain.

At Butler Street, we have pivoted from in-person training to virtual sessions with great success. In the new post COVID world, clients are asking for help to develop skills that were rarely needed four months ago. By listening and seeing the world through our client’s lenses, we have become a better and more relevant company.

If you would like to learn more about how Butler Street can help you solve your customers' problems, call us today.


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