There are likely few in the B2B sales profession who have not heard the phrase "It is a marathon, not a sprint" at least once in their career during a weekly meeting or annual planning session. I, for one, would like to see this tired, stale reference retired forever. Here's why.
As legend has it, the story of Marathon is in reference to Greek hero, Pheidippides and his epic run which inspired the modern-day marathon. Pheidippides is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a military victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. What is often left out is one important point. Upon finishing his run and delivering his message, the hero Pheidippides dropped dead of exhaustion.
Is this really the best message sales leaders can use to rally to the troops as they go into the marketplace to sell for their company? Grind it out for a long time against peaks and valleys until you complete your task and, well….you know. This may be a bit over-simplistic, but it was always a phrase that made me wonder…what other profession has a doomed distance runner as their source for motivation?
I believe sales to be a series of sprints, each with a beginning, middle and end but not one long, grueling trek. Like runners, sales professionals have to deal with rough terrain (competition), less than ideal weather conditions (marketplace), footwear issues (pricing) and other challenges they cannot control during a race. By approaching the year as a marathon, you are telling your team there isn't time to stop, survey the terrain and make adjustments.
One way to prepare your runners for success is to conduct routine a win / loss analysis after each sprint. It is a process to determine what worked, what didn't and how you can pivot to position your team for long-term success. This is a way sales leaders can help their team approach their sprints with a better chance to win vs. staggering to the finish, suffering the fate of the late, great Pheidippides.
To learn more about how a win / loss analysis can benefit your sales organization, please visit our site: Inventis Strategies Win / Loss Analysis