November 12th 2007
Everybody Lies. Dr. Greg House 2005. Hugh Laurie as the lead of House, has created a miserable, irascible and cynical character, Greg House, who’s core belief is that everybody lies. Knowing that, he will still find out the extremely rare ailment and solve the problem. As sales guys we are very familiar with everybody lying to us. However I want to explore those areas beyond the normal lies that we sometimes miss. Here are a few.
- The CEO announces a 20% stretch goal for sales. When pushed by the VP’s of Sales & Marketing as to why this goal, the answer is, “If you guys just add 20% more sales guys this quarter, or close 20% more business, we can meet these goals. ” There are two lies here. The CEO has likely attended a “Gazelles” workshop and 20% seemed like a good number to pick, it has no rooting in the business metrics . The second is that he has announced it to the Board already so there is no negotiation.
- The VP Ops has planned manufacturing at a 5% linear growth. over a year ago. When sales closes or does not meet targets, Ops is all up in arms about the impact on his numbers. The lie is he plans according to what he can make and not according to any cooperative work with the sales and marketing team. Reality says that in today’s market, lots of events can derail orders. Ops must be as dynamic as the market, and better at it each quarter.
- The CFO announced revenue predictions to the CEO based on past performance, with no upfront hedging on the value of the dollar or interest rates. There really is no hard financial data, only certain revenue allocations and now best guesses.
So when all these lies come home to roost, it is the VP Sales and VP Marketing who’s heads are on the block. The sales team who are often start out gung ho to hit those numbers will lose confidence when the truth comes home. This drives the numbers down as well.
So if everybody lies, acknowledge it, roll up the sleeves and work as a combined unit to understand your metrics, your clients, their environment,and what is achievable from the get go. Forget the games, selective revenue allocations, quarterly market dance, just tell the truth to your investors, board and employees. Its not easy but you can build on it.
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