Sales & Sales Management Expertise

What the Numbers Tell Us about Salesperson Readiness

Tags: sales competencies, sales management, building successful sales teams, DoL regulations

We recently delivered a webinar specifically for one of our clients – BISA (Bank Insurance and Securities Association).  The topic was The Customer-First Advisor: How to Help Your Salespeople Survive and Sell in the Coming DOL Environment – regarding the recent Department of Labor ruling outlining the fiduciary responsibilities of financial advisors giving advice to prospects or clients. (Click here to listen to recording.)

NOTE:  This post doesn't just apply to investment advisor salespeople.  Salespeople in all industries continue to face changes in economic, competitive and company climates.  As a sales leader, it is important to recognize that those salespeople that got you where you are today probably won’t be the same ones that will get you through the other side of change unless you get them ready.

Up until this year, advisors had to satisfy a “suitability” standard when providing advice.  The problem is that sometimes “suitability” also was conflicted advice. It was “conflicted” apparently because some of the products that were “suitable” were also the ones that paid the advisors the most commission.  I have strong feelings about this and why the DoL would stick its nose in this… but that discussion is for another day and time!

As a result, one of the issues at hand is how advisors actually conduct themselves now that there are new regs in place.  During our webinar (click here to listen to recording),we asked a couple of poll questions.  Here are those questions and responses:


What does this tell us – you?

  • Skills to be successful – If you look at your sales results in a 80/20 power curve, you always see that about 36% of your team represents close to 90% of the sales results. What does that tell you about the rest of the team?  Answer: They either fail in effort or execution of the process, or they lack skills.  Question: Did you hire them that way or make them that way?
  • Pipeline – The question applies to anyone selling anything but ESPECIALLY if you are selling products and services of higher dollar amounts and selling B2B. Not everyone that fogs a mirror is a prospect.  Yes, people may call you out of the blue, walk into your office and ask to buy. Sell them!  But, day in and day out, your salespeople need to be looking for and talking to Zebras. (click here for book)
  • Depending on how your salespeople go to the market, the first contact has to be compelling. One of our rules is this: “Don’t look, act or sound like a salesperson.”  If your people open up with how good the company is, great pricing and unbelievable service, then they are bringing nothing to the conversation that is compelling.  REMEMBER THIS from Verne Harnish in Scaling UP – People are distracted.  Prospects have lots of other people looking to take their time.  You must have a compelling message in order to get people to keep listening.
  • Tracking is the name of the game when it comes to performance management. Lots of companies talk about performance management, but normally all that means is that there is an arbitrary line that someone has to cross before they go on a PIP – Performance Improvement Program.  By then, it’s normally too late. The key to performance management is to have systems and processes in place so that you can “catch them early”.

What does this mean?  It means the following:

  • Regardless of the levels of success in your organization, you should constantly invest in your people so that they continue to improve important skills and learn new ones.
  • Make sure that your salespeople clearly understand the ideal client in your organization and make sure that you have a process to “inspect what you expect” in terms of what segment of the market you are capturing.
  • Review your go-to-market messaging and ask yourself – “Does this really differentiate us from the market or are we trying to sell the same message everyone else is?”
  • Identify your sales steps. Have a process in place to calculate exactly how many of each step each salesperson has to execute in order to succeed.  Make sure that you have assumptions about the conversion ratios from one step to the next step.  These ratios will vary from person to person. Collect actual performance results.  Compare actual activity and effectiveness to target activity and effectiveness.

Additional Resources:

Building a Sales Formula for Success – Link to success formula

Tracking – Sample output of data collected

Sales Inspiration from an NBA Legend and His Coach

Tags: sales management, building successful sales teams, selling in today's market

The only difference between successful salespeople and the other 77% is that the successful salespeople actually do the very things they don’t like doing.”  

This is a quote from Dave Kurlan’s blog post about Bill Walton and John Wooden (see Additional Resources below).  Dave uses role-playing as an example.  I see this all the time!  Ask someone to role play in front of the group and they shut tight like a clam.  How can you possibly get better at pressure situations if you don’t practice under pressure?

Bill has published and is now marketing his book, Back from the Dead.  I read a couple of lines froman interview with GQ and immediately went to my Amazon add-in and downloaded the book with my 1-click.

Here was my amazing buying experience:

  • I read an article that got my attention.
  • I clicked on a button in my Firefox ribbon at the top of my page.
  • I searched Amazon for “Bill Walton”.
  • The book popped up.
  • I clicked on the little thing on the right side of the page that said, “Buy Now using 1-click.”
  • I wanted the Kindle version so I could read it on the plane without carrying a big book, so when Amazon asked me if I wanted it downloaded to my iPhone, I clicked “yes.”
  • This all took less than a minute.
  • And that, my friends, is today’s sales cycle.

In your sales world, it might not take as many steps or it might be more.  In your sales cycle, it probably takes more than a minute… maybe 30 days, maybe 120, maybe a year.

Bottom line: There is something that stimulates the buyer. The buyer gets the information they want and then… when they want to buy… they want to make the process easy and they want options.  If you are not doing those things (stimulating the buying response – providing information to make a buying decision – giving them options – making it easy), then you are going to lose the sale to those that do those things.  Not only will you lose occasionally, but sooner or later, it will become a permanent condition.

Now, my favorite Bill Walton and John Wooden story.

Watch the video to get the whole story, but in short, the lesson for the Sales Leader is this:

  • You’ve been hired to do a job – drive sales growth/win market share
  • Part of that responsibility is to put the best team in the market.
  • As the coach, you establish the culture for winning; you set the team rules.
  • You can lead people but you cannot make them do something – players have free will.
  • If someone violates the rules, something has to be done – bend the rules, keep the rules
  • If a salesperson wants to exert their independence, let them. But let them do it somewhere else.
  • They have to want to play for you and win more than compete against you and lose.

Additional Resources:

Dave Kurlan’s blog:
The Sales Success Secret Shared by Bill Walton and John Wooden

Unless you have strong leadership, the money you spend on sales training is wasted. Stop wasting money.  In addition to great players, the key to a sales team built for growth is great sales management Leadership and Management. Read more about our Sales Management Certification.

Make sure you get great players who are committed to winning for you –

Get insight on the 9 Keys to Successful Sales Management 

Is it an Expense or an Investment?

Tags: sales management, Sales Coaching, increase sales, building successful sales teams


I just returned from the 2016 Bank Insurance and Securities Association annual convention. As always, it is a great event where competitors come together to discuss processes and strategies to deal with the challenges of growing financial institution-owned investment (broker) programs.

I believe this is actually my 7th conference: the first one being 2009.  As you can imagine, that year was quite a conference as banks and investment firms/companies were in the throws of a financially disastrous economic downturn.  This year, there is a new challenge on the horizon - the impending DOL (Department of Labor) legislation regulating fiduciary responsibility of advisors when discussing, presenting and offering solutions to retirement funds.  Although there was way too much information to get it all a single post, the topic did leave me with much I would like to share with my readers.

So, this is my thought for today - investing in success.

This is going to sound self-serving.  However, I assure you, it is not.  As a company, we have probably invested $40,000.00 in real dollars to learn about the industry the BISA represents as well as learn more about the problems and challenges facing those that are responsible for leading and managing sales teams to meet the investment program goals.  This year alone, and I just finished tallying just my expenses for the trip, we will have invested very close to $20,000.00 so that we can better understand AND service our target market. 

Understand that when I say "our company" I really mean my wife, Linda, and me.  It is our company.  It is our money.  So, every dollar we spend in and for our company that is a dollar that we don’t invest in our own family and future.  It really is our money. The point is that we look at it as an investment and not just an expense.  It's an investment that will return future dollars to the company.

As I was flying back yesterday, I was thinking about that and thinking about those that attended and those individual salespeople (thousands of them) represented by the firms/companies in attendance and I realized a couple of things:

  *  There are people there just like me that are taking money out of their pocket and investing in a future.

  * There are people there that are using company dollars BUT they are using personal time away from their family and investing that time to invest in their future.

  * The investment, either way, is substantial.

  * The investment of time alone is close to three 14-hour days.

My point and suggestion today is this - in order to become all that you can be, you need to personally invest time, money and effort to learn.  It’s more than an investment of the 40 to 50 hours a week working in the business.  It is an additional investment of time working on your business necessary for future success.

Does Your Sales Team Have "Swagger"?

Tags: sales success, building successful sales teams, highly successful sales people

 Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" – Theodore Roosevelt, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910   
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

What does it take for a salesperson/sales team to live that life?

1. Goals – Not just any goal(s), but goals that, as Walt Disney stated, drive you from the inside: “Dream the big dream, there is nothing in small dreams that stir the blood.”

2. Passion – A passion that emanates from you whenever you are doing what you love to do or talking about what you love to do. When others are in your presence they are compelled to stop and listen and watch/listen while you “burn”.

3. Commitment – The kind of commitment that is best described as “willing to do everything possible to succeed.”

4. Integrity – The determination to do what should be done even if no one is watching and no one will give you credit as a result of doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do.

5. Skills – Maybe not all the technical skills required to perfectly execute a behavior, but they have skills like intuition, high “figure it out” ability, stick-to-it-tiveness (not sure that’s a word) persistence, and determination.

6. Willingness to Take Risks – Some people just take shots and decide to aim as they go knowing that they may not at first hit the target but, eventually, they will get sighted-in and hit the objective.

7. Lack of Fear of Failure or Success – Truly, the ability to move on regardless of an outcome is required if you are going to keep going even after you’ve been marred by blood, sweat and blood.

8. Discernment – Those that keep going understand the difference between failing to accomplish an object and being a failure. They understand that a failure is something that occurs in one of their “roles” in life, but who they are on the inside stays intact.

9. Discernment, Part II – They know what shots to take, when to hold them and when to fold them. They estimate the chances of winning and know what they are willing to risk. They stack the deck as best they can and take action knowing full-well they cannot account for every incident that might keep them from success.

10. Ownership – They give credit to others for success and own the outcomes of failure. They don’t blame other people or things; they simply think and or say, “I failed to…”

Imagine just these 10 characteristics, traits or skills all wrapped up in a human being. And that, even with all of these strengths, they continue to grow through risk, success and failure. As a result, they have confidence. They have a sense of invulnerability when it comes to doing the tough stuff. When they walk into a room and start to speak, they own the room. They command attention and they say and do things that others admire and wish they could say and do.

They are people that you want to have on your team and would rather not have to compete against because you know they will do everything they need to do to win. They will be relentless in pursuit of an objective and, while they occasionally lose, most often it is a loss they were willing to suffer in order to do the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.

These people have earned the right to have swagger, to be courageous, assertive and brave because they have fought the fight, they have actually been in the arena, and have had their face marred by dust and sweat and blood; they strove valiantly, made errors, came up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually strove to do the deeds; knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; spends himself in a worthy cause; and at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement

Do you have these people?

Additional Resources:

How to Build a Motivated Sales Team



Two Truths about the New Age of Technology, Google and the Internet that Breakthrough Companies Recognize, pt. 3 of 3

Tags: sales management, Sales Coaching, increase sales, building successful sales teams

In the Age of Google, the Age of the internet and the rapidly changing face oftonybubble3 technology, one of the biggest challenges that companies face today includes making the jump from old ways to new ways.

In Part III of our conversation with Tony Cole of Anthony Cole Training, LLC, we want to share our conversation about “gazelles and stagnates”, or organizations that are growing disproportionately fast. We uncovered two patterns; it is how domino companies approach these two patterns which set them up for the success they enjoy.

1. Moving from Old Ways to New Ways

What’s so baffling today is the fact that many organizations are simply unable or unwilling to see that the system of record they are using to manage sales and marketing is one that was designed when people use to return telephone calls and emails. What is it that domino companies, these “gazelles”, are doing that enables them to skyrocket passed established organizations, middle grade companies and other start-ups?

They Harness the New Way of Selling and Marketing: Domino companies have put aside old ways and have transitioned to the new ways of selling and marketing, whether it’s digitally or using alternative channels to get traction. Part of adopting the new ways of selling and marketing is realizing that the buyer has made a fundamental shift. Cole pointed out that this has been a critical shift in successful selling and marketing. The fact is that domino companies understand the new buyer.

Cole explained the shift he sees to the new buyer and the opportunities that many companies are missing because they are not making the leap from old to new ways:

“Most of our clients are still using traditional methodology to penetrate the market place and they’re counting on referrals from centers of influence. If they’re in the bank space, they’re counting on introductions from bank partners, and if they’re in the insurance space, they’re looking to their current clients. If they’re a newbie, especially in the insurance industry, whatever list they can come up with—that’s what they’re looking to. It’s not as effective anymore, and I don’t know that it’s not effective or cost effective because people aren’t good at it. I think it’s because the buyer has changed; the buyer doesn’t buy that way anymore. There was a time in this world of ours in buying and selling where the seller initiated the buying process—well, that’s not the case anymore.”

Cole emphasizes that domino companies make it a point to be found. Whether it’s through harnessing the right technology to measure and tailor their product or service to their exact target or it’s changing how they sell in order to match the buying process which the new buyer is interested in, domino companies make it easy to take the next step at every level of engagement.

Today, less is more. Not every prospect is a buyer. Prospects don’t want to be lured in or hoodwinked. Some are window shopping. They don’t want to feel pressured to buy. Others are out for a stroll and see something that strikes them. They may go from no interest to fully engaged within a matter of seconds. Domino companies know how important it is to qualify marketing leads, to nurture them if needed, and when to pull the trigger and send the leads from marketing to sales. They understand their buyer, something which organizations that are following the traditional methodologies find themselves continually struggling to do.

Most People Don’t Lose Sales Because of Technological Incompetence

Cole also shared that the second problem organizations face when it comes to growing from small to big is a focus on the wrong things. While technology is ushering in breakthroughs and helping a good number of these gazelles achieve exponential growth over short time periods, technology alone is never the answer.

“Most people don’t lose sales because of technological incompetence. It’s not because salespeople don’t know the subject matter, but they don’t have access to it. So, where I’m going with this is [highlighting the value] in teaching people, coaching people, helping them understand what is it they need to be looking for when they buy a product or service.

You have to have access to the right information to share with the prospect. Then you have to be good enough as salespeople to take over the sales process, but to also manage the buyers to that buying process.

Once we do this, once we come with this information, we ask, “What is our next step? How do we keep the rapport? How do we help the prospect or buyer make a decision?” One of the key skill sets required to do this is the ability of the salesperson to get the decision maker to make a decision, and technology can’t do that— only a person alone can help somebody make a decision.”

Domino companies realize that technology can help them achieve success, but that technology must be directed by human intelligence and no amount of automation will ever replace sales people.

2. Working and Communicating Effectively as Teams

What’s more, domino companies realize the value of teams and the transformation that effective job allocation and communication delivers. Whether these break down into lead qualification teams, sales teams, and marketing teams—the teams work together, not against each other in competition. Cole’s organization has different names for these salespeople within teams—hunters, qualifiers, account managers, former ambassadors—but the idea is the same. The idea is to strategically arrange people’s roles around their expertise and not to demand results from people with the wrong skill sets. He talks more about this transformation is realized:

“I think this is a new transformation for companies that are recognizing that “Wow, I just hired a super start sales person, but this super star sales person has the same problems at prospecting that my average people do.” The transformation is they are trying to find ways to take that part of the job off the table. They are trying to do lead gen for all their sales people and allow the sales people to go do what they are really good at; getting face to face meetings, or having that conversation and moving a prospect to somebody who says, “Holy crap, I got to have your stuff.”

Domino companies are fun to watch, challenging to imitate and powerful to partner with. They understand that technology won’t fix their problems, not on its own. They understand the value of collaboration and synergistic efforts between marketing and sales. If there is one thing that domino companies get, it is that they understand the value in helping the consumer get from where they are to where they want to be, but this is rooted in the fact that they have clarity personally on an organization-wide level of where they as an organization want to be.

It was fantastic to talk to Tony Cole and to learn and grow from insights he’s come to working with the full range of organizations in financial verticals. It might not always be possible to sell to everyone because not everyone is buying. Helping your target get from where they are to where they want to be is critical and Tony’s brand mission is absolutely inspirational—a mission that we expect many other domino companies also value, which is why I’ll close the article with it:

“You will not find anyone else to partner with who cares about your success as we do.  If you are lying awake at night worrying about something, I assure you, we are too.  Your problems become our problems.”

Read Part 1 & 2 of this compelling and insightful series:

Don't Miss Tony Cole's Sales Management Books!


Sales Habits, Sales Managers and Changing Habits

Tags: hire better sales people, sales management, sales assessments, building successful sales teams


As I continue to think about habits of sales people and the role of the sales manager in identifying, assessing and “correcting” habits, I keep looking for additional information that might be additive to this string of articles. I came across an old email sent to me from Ike Jablon. Ike is a media relations specialist at SoftwareAdvice a company that helps businesses find sales software. I asked Ike to tell me more about Software Advice.

Here is his response: “Many sales professionals come to the conclusion that technology, namely a CRM system, can be critical to maintaining organization as a sales-oriented business scales and grows. We're a free and trusted resource for CRM buyers who are feeling overwhelmed by all the choices of solutions out there. Our team of software advisors provides free telephone consultations to help buyers build a shortlist of systems that will meet their specific needs.” 

Ike sent me a link to a survey that was done regarding the hunt for sales managers/directors. Here is the link to the survey findings: Sales Director Job Listings. Obviously, the connection here is the finding around the job post for the role and their experience with technology. The report shows that 29% of the companies surveyed require “technical expertise”. Of those 29%, 100% of them require the candidate to have expertise in CRM technology.

I have a habit of saying, “What’s interesting is…” Occasionally, I will catch myself and re-phrase the statement so that it sounds more like: “What I find interesting but what you might find boring as hell is…” So, this is what I find intriguing or interesting and you might find boring as hell:

  • Why only 29%? With more companies requiring more work to get done by fewer people, why wouldn’t companies demand that the person who is the direct link between sales strategy and sales execution be masterful at using technology? Using the right technology and using it well can help a director increase their span of influence and free up their time so they can have more interactions with their people that are meaningful and intentional instead of data gathering. E.g. “So, what’s in your pipeline?”
  • A secondary education was required by 66% of the respondents and, of that percentage, it appears that about 70% of the job postings indicated that the employer wanted somebody with a degree related to business – Business, Finance, Marketing or Communication degree.


I understand the findings and I understand the tendency to want these requirements but… is it correct? Is this what companies should be looking for when hiring a director of sales?

I reached out to several sales executives and presidents of companies to inquire about what they see as the most common bad habits in sales people. I will be referring to their responses in the next several articles but, for this moment, let me share with you what Dave Kurlan, President of Objective Management Group, sent me:

  • Demo too soon in the sales process
  • Give up on contacting prospects several attempts too early
  • Don’t thoroughly qualify
  • Make too many assumptions
  • Don’t reach real decision makers

My question to potential employers is this: How does the business degree help with these bad habits? The answer is that the degree doesn’t help with the most common bad habits of sales people. Time and again, I’ve worked with sales directors with the appropriate degrees and still find these habits… as well as others. If having the degree was so critical, then why do these problems still exist? Why do most sales organizations have 70% of their sales force not hitting goals? Why would someone with an MBA allow a sales person to continue to be on the sales team after 18 months of failing to hit sales quotas? Imagine for a minute the IT director found out that 70% of the time a computer application responsible for financial reporting was providing incorrect information. What would happen?

  • The work experience required is also as expected. Experience in industry specific sales, experience in sales management, a minimum number of year sales etc.


I admit that I’m biased about what it takes to be an extraordinary sales director. I believe the same qualifications that make a good coach make a good sales manager. You have to be part psychologist, part teacher, part parent, part mentor, part accountability partner, part boss. Being a strong manager isn’t about being nice or mean. It isn’t about looking at the numbers and, when the numbers don’t add up, bringing in HR and putting the producer on a PIP.

I heard Dr. Peter Jensen speak at the EcSell Institute Sales Management Summit. He addressed the audience with the concept of the 3rd Factor of human behavior. The first two being nature and nurture. The third factor is our bias. In this specific case, he was talking about successful management. Regardless of the group or team you are trying to manage, coach and or improve, those successful coaches that he observed had a “coaching bias”. In other words, the most important thing to the coach was the development of another.

My question is: How do you find that in your next sales director?

My answer is:

  • Create the right profile for the role. Identify what you need them to DO rather than what they have done.
  • Create a job post that attracts exactly what you are looking for. Tell the readers of the job post that “The job isn’t for everyone. If you are going to be successful in this role with my company, then you MUST be able to demonstrate success doing…”
  • Assess if they will do what you need them to do not can they do. The #1 assessment tool in the world helps Anthony Cole Training Group help its clients hire the right people and eliminate hiring mistakes thus impacting both top-line and bottom-line.
  • Interview for what you are looking for. If your sales director has to inspire trust from the team, do you feel like your candidate is someone you can trust? If they must be masterful at performance management, how will you know your candidate can do that based on your current interviewing approach? If they must develop your sales team, how will you know that your candidate has developed extraordinarily successful sales teams (not just have a successful sales stud or studette that carried the rest of the team)?
  • Win the bet on the first tee. Make sure they know exactly what is expected and how they will be managed for the first 6 months on the job. Tell them exactly what will happen if people don’t improve and/or if metrics do not demonstrate that they are having and impact.
  • Make sure that, if they don’t come to the table equipped with all the know-how on using technology, that you direct them to sources like Software Advice to determine the right CRM, pipeline management, sales force automation applications for the job you need to get done. Don’t let them get hung up on the marketing glitz of the CRM with the biggest marketing budget. Don’t let them bring their past into your experience.
  • Pay for what you hope to get not what they’ve done in the past. Hiring the right person is similar to investing. Past performance is no guarantee for future returns. Make sure everyone has skin in the game for future growth.


Additional resources:

Don't miss out on our Extraordinary Sales Manager Webinar Series! It's not too late to get involved - Part 2 is coming up June 29, 2015. SIGN UP TODAY for the "Hire Better Salespeople" FREE webinar and get ready to take your hiring to a whole new level!


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Two Other Patterns that Set Breakthrough Companies Apart from the Crowd, Pt.2

Tags: sales management, increase sales, building successful sales teams

tonysbubble2A guest post by Tony Scelzo, President of Stringcan

Tony Cole of Anthony Cole Training, LLC has been advising and training for 22+ years in banking, insurance and investment verticals. We asked him about his experience with domino companies. He explained:

“I’ve had a chance to see a lot of companies go from small, flat, non-growing organizations to organizations where something happens and they really begin to kick into gear and they start to grow.” He then added with a chuckle, “There probably isn’t anything they can bring to the table that we haven’t seen before.”

That being said, we teased out two patterns he’s noted among domino companies he’s partnered with.

1. Breaking the Status Quo is in their DNA: Breakthrough companies not only have a culture of change and an appetite for change, but it’s a foundational part of their DNA. They are completely willing to give up who they are at any given time to achieve what they want to achieve. What’s more, leaders in these companies don’t feel that their role or job or contribution to their organization is being questioned or threatened by someone from the outside either. In fact, breakthrough companies don’t have “sacred cows.”

In Cole’s words,

“Seth Godin wrote a book—Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers. So you’ve got to have a kind of mentality that ‘okay, there are no sacred cows.’ And in his organization, in his process with his clients and partners, he explains that “We take an entire company and treat it like a puzzle—pour it on the table, start putting this thing together again, and we use all the pieces.”  

It’s hard for organizations to realize that they have to be willing to not only break themselves on the macro level but to be breaking themselves every day, to innovate, to iterate and to build a culture of continual change. Many companies just aren’t wired that way. What’s unique about Cole’s company is that it works to help other companies embrace the DNA of constantly breaking the status quo in order to help them move and grow.

2. Breakthrough Companies are Good Partners: The second thing about breakthrough companies is that they are good partners. In a good partnership, they realize that they need to think and be pushed out of their comfort zone for success.

It’s very difficult to move from small to big and to do so quickly without having infrastructure around it go upward, which is why it’s so important to partner with organizations that will naturally accelerate your growth. Moving upward fast is near impossible when focusing solely on internal points of view.

According to Cole, the kinds of partners that breakthrough companies both associate with and actually function as are those which not only make a “job easy, but when you sit down and talk with them about what they are trying to get done and you challenge them with some thoughts, you don’t get the resistance that you get with others. What you get are some questions like: How would that work? What impact does that have? What would we have to do to accommodate that? They look at the positive side or look for the answer to ‘How do we do that?’ verses having a discussion around “We can’t do that because of X, Y, Z, etc.’”

A good partner realizes that not everything is going to work and they iterate the things which evolve correctly and move what doesn’t. They follow a series of actions—test, try, come back, look at the data, see how it works and iterate. What’s more, a good partner doesn’t judge every single idea or individual piece of information or strategy alone by the test of whether or not it works right—a good partner realizes that not everything works in sales and marketing, for example, the way you think it will or should.

Domino companies realize they can’t do it solo and that they need partnerships with organizations that will challenge them. They realize they don’t have everything it takes internally to move from small to big, which brings us to the final point—how breakthrough companies bring about this change and growth--via—technology.

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest commonalities among domino companies is what they realize about how the Age of Google and rapid change have impacted the way we do marketing and sales. Read more about this in Two Truths about the New Age of Technology, Google and the Internet that Breakthrough Companies Recognize in next month’s post.


Did you like today’s post? Read more of Tony Cole’s Blog HERE. Also, we bet you’ll love our weekly audio Sales Brew and monthly newsletter! Sign up HERE and receive Tony Cole’s eBook, Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?, as our thanks to you!