How To Use Failure To Your Advantage

One of the biggest roadblocks to success is the fear of failure. Fear of failure is worse than failure itself because it condemns you to a life of unrealized potential.

A successful response to failure is all in your approach. In a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that success in the face of failure comes from focusing on results (what you hope to achieve), rather than trying not to fail. While it’s tempting to try and avoid failure, people who do this fail far more often than those who optimistically focus on their goals.

This sounds rather easy and intuitive, but it’s very hard to do when the consequences of failure are severe. The researchers also found that positive feedback increased people’s chances of success because it fueled the same optimism you experience when focusing solely on your goals.

The people who make history—true innovators—take things a step further and see failure as a mere stepping stone to success. Thomas Edison is a great example. It took him 1,000 tries to develop a light bulb that actually worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Continue reading…

Innovation or Efficiency

New digital technologies offer a plethora of opportunities for businesses to improve efficiency and increase profitability. The digital economy is transforming businesses all across the globe – be it retail, healthcare, hospitality and beyond. However, the rapid pace of technological advancement has put the businesses into the crossroads of the dual mandate. Companies are grappling to continue to execute efficiently while incorporating innovation through newer technologies. There is a need to constantly innovate to renew the core business, while maintaining the quality of products and services to the existing customers, and for the emerging markets.

There is a need to be efficient, and stay innovative or creative at the same time. To stay competitive and to maintain this delicate balance, the change inside the organisation must be faster than the change outside of it. If the process building for innovation takes too long, it can kill the spark, putting the company at the risk. However, if sufficient time is not given to brainstorm, research and share ideas as a team, the innovation will not happen.

Many companies have been struggling with the same dilemma for several years. There are opportunities to partner with their clients on new emerging technologies such as mobile, social, cloud and analytics. However, there is also a need to constantly renew their core business of application services, infrastructure management, systems integration and business process service. After a great deal of market analysis and research, the Three Horizons Model (3H) for portfolio management has been derived where a company is seen as a portfolio of businesses grouped together according to their growth characteristics.

Horizon 1 is the core business that provides the bulk of cash flows and revenue, and the focus is to defend and extend this core field. Emerging opportunities such as business process services, business consulting or infrastructure managements are promising businesses and fall in horizon 2. And finally, all the mobile, social, analytics and cloud offerings, new market segments, new geographies and new service delivery models are grouped in Horizon 3. This model demands a great deal of discipline and effort to make it work, however, once successfully implemented, it can yield great results for the company. To ensure the success, the company needs to grow all the three horizons concurrently, ensuring complete discipline about allocating resources across the horizons.

The process building for efficiency is quite different from that for innovation. To create a good balance, it is essential to build processes that make companies more effective and at the same time figure out a way to ensure that innovation is allowed into the mix. Clearly, every business needs both, a focus on innovation, and a focus on efficiency. Gore, 3M, P&G are good examples of companies that have managed to do both quite well simultaneously. Companies that can formulate a balanced strategy will thrive, and companies that focus entirely on efficiency or innovation can easily become one trick ponies.

Places To Research A Prospect Before A Sales Call

Every sales cycle has some very important steps. However, small they seem their importance gets highlighted only when business deals do not take off as planned or the response of the prospect is not forthcoming. Before making any sales call, it is imperative to do some research about the people and the organization that one is trying to reach.

One of the first things that most people need to understand when they are doing research and they are going to call on sectors and clients is really to understand who their target customer is. Targeting the RIGHT person is crucial. Secondly, it’s important to make sure of the fact that what we are trying to sell is in line with what one is looking to buy. Simply pushing a product will never serve a purpose. This scenario is the same as your pushing a customer to buy a baby product when she is actually looking for a cosmetic. Hence, understanding the need of the client is essential. Once this is clear and reaches a meeting level, we need to keep ourselves updated about the structure of the organization, the industry, the news and the details of the person we are interacting with. It is best to go to the meeting as prepared as we possibly can. With information readily available on our fingertips through computers, phones, tablets and even by cursory googling; it is best advised to keep ourselves equipped with all the right information before the meeting.

Experts opine that LinkedIn is by far the best platform for any prospect research. LinkedIn helps to check the following areas of the prospect’s profile.

Experience at the current job, former experiences, shared connections, groups and recent activities. While the current job lists out duties or projects that the prospect is involved with, former experiences show their career history. If there is a common connection with the prospect, it adds to our advantage and could act as a referral opportunity. Groups and group chats give a fair idea about what is being discussed about. Recent activities also help in looking into what the prospect has recently purchased, where and shared.

Twitter account goes a long way in finding out an individual’s interests and posts. At the same time, the company’s Twitter account helps in discovering what the company has been promoting to its customers and how. This helps us to understand how to present ourselves to the prospect.

It’s important to keep ourselves abreast about the prospect company’s recent press and media releases that give information about recent acquisitions, change in leaderships, product releases, financial statements, events and more. Checking out the company’s recent financial reports and problems are also a good step in this regard. In addition, the company’s blog or a prospect’s blog must be read and commented on during the call or meeting.

There might be instances where your interaction with a prospect is at first, but the prospect might have checked you out already. Hence it becomes necessary to search for the prospect in the marketing automation system for any interaction history. This could largely influence your approach in the buying –selling process. At the same time it is necessary to find out if another sales team member has approached the prospect in the recent past. And if so, what the outcome was. This helps to change or modify your approach to suit your needs.

In the todays’ competitive world, a competitor’s recent announcement may impact your offering. It may act to your advantage. At the same time, your prospect may feel your offering may be an unnecessary expense. The key factor in such a situation is shrewdness in assessing the situation and turning it to your advantage.

The relation between a sales person and a prospect is a delicate one. Often the first few questions asked determines whether the relation continues further. The sales person must evaluate the prospect at different levels. The organization or the company need, whether there is a specific need or a challenge that should be overcome and whether it’s feasible to implement a particular service or product. Time is the most precious asset for any sales person and it’s it is better not to waste it on ‘Closing’ every deal but clinching a handful of the best deals. Ultimately, it makes sense to conclude that every sales person dreams of achieving targets. But this process of achieving targets depends on his foresight, ability to judge a prospect’s need, convincing abilities, negotiation skills and lastly a positive attitude.