Business Scale. What Does it Mean?

Business Scale. Scale Business. What Does it Mean?

I am often asked, “What does ‘scale’ mean in business?” The term scale can have a different meaning depending on context. Common examples include: 1) Are we operating the business at scale? 2) Are we taking advantage of the scale of the business? 3) Can the solution scale-up or -down based on demand? 4) Does the business scale? 5) How fast can we scale the business? Below is an attempt to put context around the term “scale” to make sense of these five examples. For additional examples see Business Scale in Sales and How to Scale Yourself As A Leader.

1 – Are we operating the business at scale? Operating the business at scale means allocating resources to drive the greatest results and volume. Operating the business at scale is about optimization, not duplication, of efforts.

2 – Are we taking advantage of the scale of the business? Scale is another word for size. Companies can leverage their size by negotiating exclusive dealings, favorable terms and volume discounts with other organizations.

3 – Can the solution scale-up or -down based on demand? Most industries have periods with increased demand (retailers during the holiday season). Cloud companies like AWS let users increase or decrease capacity as needed.

4 – Does the business scale? Scalable businesses grow revenue with minimal to no new operating costs (software). If operating costs increase at the same rate as revenue growth, the business does not scale (professional services).

5 – How fast can we scale the business? Successful companies create a repeatable sales process. Once the process has been developed, companies can accelerate revenue by expanding (scaling) to additional geographies.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Creating A Sense of Urgency in Sales

How to Create A Sense of Urgency in Sales

Creating a sense of urgency in sales is critical to long-term business success. Having a sense of urgency means the company’s entire sales force is energized to capitalize on opportunities and defend against threats. Each seller is driven to take action and win now, not eventually. Sellers make progress every day, not one day or someday. It is their will to win that causes them to take action, not anger, anxiety or fear. The problem for leaders is that creating and maintaining a sense of urgency across the sales force is often difficult due to contentment (satisfaction).

Contentment leads to complacency and complacency leads to decline. Contentment comes from current and past success. It also comes from accepting the status quo. In either case, new opportunities and possibilities are ignored. In his books Built to Last and Good to Great, author Jim Collins states, “Good enough never is” and “Good is the enemy of great.” Both statements reveal a key characteristic of top sales performers  – a hyper discontent with the status quo. Good is never enough. Greatness is always the aspiration … and greatness cannot be achieved by waiting.

Top sales performers go to work every day committed to be and do better; committed to improve and raise the bar. For example, while most sellers see the company’s average deal size as the goal to meet; top sales performers see it as the target to consistently exceed. Because growth requires change and change requires intent, top sales performers practice continuous improvement to realize their full potential and remain dominate in their field. Great business and sales leaders then must hire for and institutionalize continuous improvement as a key value (behavior) for success.

Howard Shultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, said to the London Business Form: Leaders must instill a mentality where people understand that they can never rest because competitors are constantly working to take the food off their table. Leaders must eradicate the human behaviors of entitlement and relaxing from the culture. There is no victory lap. Success must be earned every day. As a result, leaders must take decisive action when people do not adhere to the required level of commitment – i.e., possess a relentless sense of urgency.

How can sales leaders institutionalize a sense of urgency into the culture? First, hire sales people who already possess it. Make the value part of your hiring profile. Second, positon change and the need to take action and win now as an opportunity. Focus on the benefits to both the organization and the sales person. Third, use leading by example to model the right behavior. People do what people see from their leaders. While most sales people claim to operate with a sense of urgency, it is not what they say, but what they do that counts.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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