Category Archives for "Sales as a system"

Are you really a “customer first” kind of person?

I have been doing a lot of networking lately. You can probably picture some of the exchanges I am experiencing. A friendly introduction, some mild chit chat/attempts at humor, then working toward an explanation of what each of us does.

And I am amazed at how often I hear nothing about the customers involved.

In other words, I always hear things like, “I work for a B2B technology company selling X.”


Doesn’t that strike you as odd?

It’s crazy to me. Especially when I consider how the customer is rarely mentioned. And considering how much we hear about customer first, customer focus, etc., I wonder if people are genuinely committed to their customers.

Consider this easy alternative: “I help other businesses figure out how to scale their growth with technology.” (Or whatever describes your customers.)

Can you see the advantages of this approach?

First, it obviously puts the customer(s) being served in the center of your mindset. You really do think “customer first” when you inject them into the front part of your dialogue. And you probably already know the benefits of this kind of thinking. But have you and your team embedded it into everything that is done and said? More importantly, would your customers agree?

Second, it opens the door to new business. Talking about how you help your customers allows the other person to potentially say that they have the same challenge/desired outcome. At the very least, they may know someone else who you should be talking with. And that door to new business appears on its own.

Third, it allows you to collect information from people who might not be a customer but certainly represent your target audience. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked with people on airplanes and gotten incredible insights about their company’s leadership, strategies, and so forth. It’s like a mini-focus group where the transparency is paramount. You really do get to hear all about the junk that your target market is dealing with – even if they don’t want to admit it.

But if you are going to get really serious about injecting customer focus, you know you have to get beyond introductory conversations and give a very intentional look into how your organization anchors its efforts to customer outcomes.

  • Has your company defined the specific customer outcomes that everyone can impact? Do you talk about those impacts – or just how much money each customer is worth? Everyone’s goals should be anchored to customer outcomes in some way.
  • How do your team mates describe what they do? Are they truly customer first? Everyone’s role should be anchored to how they support the customer experience.
  • Has your company defined the processes that affect customer interactions? Do they show respect for the outcomes you promised to deliver to your customers – or do they get in the way of delivering those outcomes? Every process should at least be analyzed for customer impact. Yes, that includes HR, Finance, and other “non-customer facing” groups because they have the greatest potential of competing with the customer.

You may not have the authority to change each of these areas, but you do have influence. Start with where you can personally make an impact and create customer focus that’s just “different” from everyone else. Then change your team. Then your group. Then who knows? You may even change your company.

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

PS – If you or someone you know needs to get better performance from the sales team, let’s set up a conversation to talk about it. Get on my calendar here.

My love-hate relationship: 3 rules to make technology work FOR you

I have a love-hate relationship with technology.

If you know me, I often have the latest gadgets/tech for my personal life – and, at the very least, I try to not fall behind.

If you also know me, I never get in line first. I want to see how it works using other people’s money. Why buy the first version with all of the kinks?

At work, we have the exact same tension.

We absolutely cannot fall behind in how we use technology. And we absolutely cannot waste our people/time/energy/resources on tech that makes work harder and less effective.

This week, I’d like to share the best advice I have ever received on the use of technology – and consequently always share with our clients. When we follow them, we love tech. And when we don’t…

Rule #1 – Technology is just an enabler

Technology, by itself, is meaningless. It ONLY has value when you are already doing the work manually. If you don’t track your diet – even if it’s done in your head – what good is a diet tracker? If you don’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing materials, what good is a tool that enables marketing analytics?

I’m not saying that tracking your diet or analyzing your marketing effectiveness are bad things. I’m just saying that buying the technology without already being committed to the work it enables is a waste.

How many apps have you downloaded because people said “it’s amazing/game-changing/awesome/etc.” and it started collecting digital dust the moment you finished the set-up?

The same principle is true at work – and especially sales enablement.

Rule #2 – Technology always costs double

The true cost of anything is what you have to pay beyond the initial price, right?

Technology – especially when it involves some sort of user interaction – ALWAYS requires some sort of implementation budget. Most often, we see a 1:1 ratio. For every dollar spent on the tech, another dollar should be spent on the implementation. And implementation may not be actual dollars (because people, time, energy, and other resources aren’t always converted to a dollar amount), but the bottom-line cost is equivalent.

How often have you seen a new system (or even just a new version) get launched and everyone goes back to doing the work with the old system/version? Or worse – they just create their own manual process as a workaround? All because the new tech “doesn’t work” for them.

What I’m saying is that we are all going to spend double the cost that we originally paid. Embrace that. And if you want to throw real dollars into the mix for training, troubleshooting, support, etc., you can make the experience go much smoother than simply hoping it all works.

Rule #3 – Technology implementation is anchored to your disruption tolerance

Implementing new technology involves learning. And learning – in its purest form – is a disruption.

I have long said that learning isn’t learning unless behavior changes. I never ask my kids what they learned in school because until I see their behavior changing, they haven’t learned anything yet. In other words, they weren’t motivated enough by the subject to disrupt/change their behavior.

Learning how to use technology follows the same principle. When we bring technology into the workplace, we have to expect – and plan for – some disruption. Obviously, minor technology changes bring minor disruptions. And major technology changes bring major disruptions.

Which brings us to disruption tolerance – your team’s tolerance for disruption.

What I’m saying is that when we plan to introduce technology – even if it’s the perfect enabler with the perfect budget – and the team cannot handle any more disruptions (of any kind), the technology WILL get rejected.

Every time.

If you are the one responsible for launching/implementing the technology, lift your head and look at the bigger picture of disruption tolerance. You may have to address that before you do anything else.

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

PS If you or someone you know needs to get better performance from the sales team, let’s set up a conversation to talk about it. Get on my calendar here.

5 ways to accelerate your ramp to revenue

This week’s blog is actually not a blog. It’s a webinar that I had the genuine privilege of being a part of.

The topic was how to make your sales onboarding deliver greater impact – for your customers AND your sales team.

The key folks involved were some of the great people I get to work with:

  • Roderick Jefferson
  • Tamera Schmidt
  • Ed Ross

Every one of us is a veteran in the sales enablement space with a valuable perspective that I’m confident you will enjoy listening to. Check out 5 Ways to Accelerate Your Ramp to Revenue via

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

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