Stay with me on this one. I need to go through a couple of metaphors to take you where I want to go.
I heard that Dallas, TX received more than 11 inches of snow, the most in the hundred years that records have been kept. The mid-Atlantic states experienced similar record snows this past week and Central Florida continues to have a cold winter. So if the US is experiencing conditions not experienced in the last 100 years, then how accurately can the computer models used by meteorologists predict weather patterns and provide accurate forecasts?
Our economy has experienced a similar record defying dip. How can we base an economic recovery on how the economy has recovered in the past?
How can we continue to approach selling to consumers and businesses as if nothing has changed? Not too long ago, web developers and observers began touting Web 2.0. Shortly thereafter, some sales gurus began talking about Sales 2.0. I wrote this article about Sales 2.0 only nine weeks ago and recently I've been thinking about Sales 3.0. But it's all nonsense. What does this nomenclature do for us or tell us? If you didn't know what constituted sales 1.0, and you don't know what sales 2.0 is all about, why would you care about Sales 3.0?
Software developers do this. Which version of Word do you run? My Windows Registry shows that Word 2007 is actually Word 12.0 but aside from the developers, who cares? The only thing the labeling can tell anyone is whether you are running the most up-to-date version of the program.
Are you running the most up-to-date version of Sales? I'm sure you're not. So there are a few things to consider. An out-of-date software program will continue to work if you are still running it on the old operating system which is running on the old computer. The environment and requirements haven't changed so why change the program?
An out-of-date sales operation (software), attempting to run in a changing marketplace (operating system) and an uncertain economy (computer) is destined to fall behind, struggle and eventually fail.
So how can you determine whether it is time to upgrade? It's fairly simple.
If you find yourself having to compromise on your growth goals - I want to grow 30% but it isn't realistic so I'll settle for 8% - it's time to upgrade.
If sales are flat or worse, they've declined, it's time to upgrade.
If your metrics show that any of your conversion ratios have declined, it's time to upgrade.
If your pipeline isn't as full as it once was, it's time to upgrade.
If you aren't attracting, recognizing, selecting or retaining A players, it's time to upgrade.
If you are frustrated with your company's progress, it's time to upgrade.
You don't need to know what's behind Sales 2.0 to determine whether it's right for you, all you need to do is honestly assess your progress and measure your level of frustration. If it's any lower than jumping for joy over your unbelievable success, you need to upgrade your sales force.