Strategy + Tactics=”Tactegic”

My friend David Brock wrote a great post the other day called, Being “Tactegic.” He talks about sales people and our tendency to be too tactical.

I realized the sales people were focused purely on tactics—it was like watching a ping pong match. The customer would hit the ball, the sales person would respond, things kept going until someone missed. Sales people act then react–almost taking a random walk through the deal.

I think David is spot on with this. Far too often sales people are reactive. There are a lot of reasons for it. Lack of sales talent or sales skills, sales management, customer buying habits, quota, the market etc. all contribute to sales people taking a reactive and tactical approach to sales.

I like to think of this type of sales as “go get a rock” sales. The customer asks for something, the sales person goes and gets it. The customer wants a particular feature the sales person comes back and yells at product because they will lose the deal if it the feature can’t be added yesterday. As David says it’s like watching a ping pong match.

The tactical is important. However, David got it right in talking about the highest performers.

The highest performers think several steps ahead . . . They blend their tactics and execution with their overall strategy to win the deal as quickly and efficiently as possible. The best sales people are “Tactegic.”

Go get a rock sales doesn’t scale. It won’t keep a company in the lead. Go get a rock sales uses customer knowledge not to sell but to justify customer product demands. Go get a rock sales offers little in the form of demand creation. Worse, there is little relationship depth with this type of tactical selling.

Optimal selling environments are “tactegic.” They balance a strategic approach with tactical execution. They are playing chess rather than ping-pong.

A recent customer of mine would say he has no time for vendors. He would continually remind us that he didn’t want to be telling us what he wanted, but wanted us to tell him what he needed. He hated the go get a rock game. He was a great partner and to this day a good friend. Not all customers will do this for you. They won’t make it easy to be “tactegic”. You’re going to have to figure it out on your own.

I can spot a tactical sales team in a minute. They’re the ones looking for the rock.

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