Today, 14 years ago, SBR opened our doors seeking to optimize performance and revenue for our clients in the complex product arena. Last week we celebrated with Team SBR. This got us thinking about the top 14 lessons from our time working in sales, marketing and customer service. Without further adieu, here are the top 14 lessons from 14 splendid years (in no particular order):
- People are at the center of everything. Want to get to the heart of a problem? Move in, listen, and observe everyone involved. It’s an eye-opening experience.
- Ethnography isn’t just a funny marketing ploy. By observing people as they really live, work and play, you can begin to develop solutions that work in the short- and long-term.
- On paper everything is perfect. It’s when you begin putting plans into action that you start to see the cracks. That’s when course correction is magical.
- People want to do well, but don’t always have the tools or knowledge to do it. You’d be surprised to learn how many people delay implementing change just to avoid failure.
- Presentations matter. In 14 years we’ve sat through hundreds of PowerPoint presentations and can count the number of “great” presentations on one hand. We love helping clients create high-impact presentations that put the audience in the center of the story to keep them engaged and move them into action.
- Identifying a problem and coming up with a solution are not one and the same. Employees approach us all the time with a litany of issues they’ve been complaining about for years. Sometimes it takes an outside view to provide in-depth change.
- Understanding context and culture makes a world of difference if you are trying to enhance a business. Best practices only work if they fit squarely within the corporate culture.
- Sometimes clients are weary. When we arrive at their office we know it’s best to embrace challenges with great enthusiasm and optimism. Failure is never an option.
- Some people are just not well suited for their role and that’s okay. The company and employees can mutually benefit from a well-designed progress plan to either move into a different role or move out.
- Balance is key. It’s one of the reasons why we have introduced the Hartman Value Profile to so many organizations because it assesses how well a person balances their work-side behaviors with their self-side activities. High performance under lots of stress and pressure isn’t easy, and certainly not sustainable for the long-term.
- TMI is often just that: too much! An overabundance of information can actually deter decision-making, sometimes called “decision fatigue”.
- Data and metrics only tell half the story. Hint: human behavior is a critical component.
- Storytelling trumps preaching and also helps simplify complexity. We shared some tips on how to use stories in business presentations in this blog.
- Even in customer service, you’re selling. Sales and retention are everyone’s job.
Over these past 14 years SBR has worked with so many wonderful people, clients and colleagues. With gratitude to all those out there (you know who you are) that made this day possible…here’s to you!