As most of us learn in time, French philosopher Voltaire was right when he wrote, “Common sense is not so common.” Likewise, common-sense sales leadership and sales management skills are actually uncommon aptitudes in the small- to medium-sized business environment.
Let’s take a deeper look at why sensible and successful sales leadership can be a rare (but achievable) commodity for smaller businesses.
Common Sense Is Not The Same As Common Knowledge
Many people confuse common sense with common knowledge. Truth is, across the vast spectrum of human intelligence, there is probably very little of either. What may seem intuitively known and accepted to one person might not be so known and accepted to another.
Within fields of endeavor (like sales) common knowledge can indeed emerge as a kind of collective professional intelligence. For example, within the sales profession it is accepted that finding the best sales talent has nothing to do with industry knowledge, and that lagging indicators are typically less valuable than leading indicators because the information they reveal could be “too little, too late” for corrective action.
But even if certain knowledge is universally held to be true in the domain of sales leadership, this knowledge is still not at all common to others in a business organization. Thus, while it is often expected that the small business owner be well-versed in many aspects of the operation, it is unrealistic to expect the owner to be a true expert in all facets – and in particular, the art and science of sales.
Lessons Learned Become Wisdom Earned
Whereas sales professionals sometimes think what they know is common knowledge because they spend so much time with other sales professionals, it can be easy to forget that their expertise is truly unique among business professionals.
It takes 20+ years to acquire the kind of learning and experience that drive true sales leadership expertise. Typically, this caliber of sales leadership talent has been honed in corporate environments and unavailable to smaller businesses due to budget and salary concerns.
Likewise, the experienced and knowledgeable sales executive has most likely not considered working in a smaller business environment, thinking that only corporate entities and large-scale markets were truly in need of their services.
An Uncommon Competitive Advantage
Despite this similar thinking of most sales executives and the owners of small- to medium-sized businesses, the truth is that there can be a natural fit for corporate sales leaders in the smaller business environment. A vast and largely untapped marketplace exists where small business owners crave the skills and experience of sales leadership professionals who can truly make a difference not only to their bottom line but sometimes to their very survival.
While most smaller businesses cannot support having a full-time sales executive on staff, they could benefit from the part-time engagement of a sales leader who has turned lessons learned into wisdom earned over a long career in sales management.
Many business owners have discovered that having a seasoned sales executive at their disposal can be a distinct competitive advantage over other businesses that continue to operate using less skilled and experienced salespeople.
The Bottom Line
Common sense is not the same thing as common knowledge. And frankly, neither is common at all. While truly knowledgeable and experienced sales professionals might think they possess common-sense sales leadership skills, this undervalues the truth: Strategic sales leadership knowledge and executive sales management talent are actually rare commodities developed over decades.
Although these skills are most often honed in large-scale corporate environments, the smaller business marketplace can benefit from seasoned sales executives who want to serve (with purpose) small- to medium-sized businesses that need a competitive sales advantage.
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.