Spiders, broken tools and missed sales

This is the second blog in a series of I don’t know yet how many, inspired by my training for a Grand Canyon hike. Those of you who read my blog know that I am training for a 2 day, 17 mile Grand Canyon hike. This translates into, I spend a lot of time walking/hiking in the woods. I’m going it alone as no one wants to or can train with me, which gives me hours to think as I put one foot in front of the other. I wonder what people think about as they train for an Iron Man or an ultramarathon. I know one runner who does math in her head!

Now that the summer folks have left this area and just prior to the leaf peepers, I found myself as the first one on the trail. I don’t mind being out on the trail alone but I hate dealing with spiders and their webs. This morning there were spider webs everywhere I walked and it was hard to see them because of the lighting, so I discovered them by feeling them on my face and hands. Yuck! It was so bad that I picked up a stick and waved it in front of me for the next 3.5 miles! Now I know that the spiders in NH aren’t bad, except for the Recluse. But knowing that doesn’t help me deal with the webs I walk right into.

What does this have to do with missing sales, except I’m walking in the woods and not selling? I’m getting to that.

Back to my faithful tool – the stick I picked up along the way to deal with the spider webs. I picked up different size and shaped sticks until I found the one I thought perfect for the job of clearing that path for me. I didn’t want it too heavy or too short. I intended to carry it a long way. It needed to be light enough, flexible enough, and long enough to rid the path of those nasty webs before my body reached them.

I found the perfect stick and continued sweeping across the path as I went. I must have been quite the site for all those squirrels and birds! At one point I had to scramble up some rocks and almost lost my balance. I had the stick in my right hand and reached out, stick and all for a little more balance. Guess what happened? In using the stick to balance myself, I broke it but saved myself. The stick was no substitute for good walking poles!

This reminds me of a sales organization that tries out different software products to see which one fits best for their sales organization. They’ll train the reps to use it, and when it doesn’t give the right results immediately, they’ll move on to the next product and repeat the process again and again. All the while the sales org doesn’t have the right tools they need to do the job efficiently and when the sales organization is inefficient, sales are down.

How are things in your organization now? Do the reps have the right tools for their job? Today it is tempting to get lulled into a feeling of success in your organization as many companies are benefiting with increased sales due to the economy and not due to their sales staff.