Can you complete this statement? We exist to…
If you run your company or a business unit, or even just a sales team, there is surprising value in completing that statement—it helps define your reason for being. I have experienced first-hand the benefit that comes from knowing our reason for being. Here’s how we complete the statement at The Center for Sales Strategy:
We exist to turn talent into performance.
It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that we would define our corporate purpose in that way. We considered other possibilities. We could have said we exist to help companies hire the best people and train them well. Or, we exist to help companies increase sales. Both would have been pretty good, but not as good as the one we landed on. Our final choice got to the essence of who we are, what our passion is, and the greatest value we deliver.
We chose turning talent into performance for a variety of reasons. We wanted the word talent in there because every business success starts with talent, a fact not everyone fully understands. Because we understand keenly the pivotal nature of talent, we’ve made it a part of almost everything we do and built a very substantial talent practice. From our partners at Talent Plus, we have the best talent assessment instruments and tools available anywhere, and on our own team the very best talent analysts in the world (a big claim, yes, but one I’m delighted to defend!). This world-class combination is why many of our clients have been using our talent assessments for five years, seven years, ten years and more.
One of the other key reasons we liked the phrase turning talent into performance is because we didn’t want to see our purpose as just helping our clients find great people (as essential as that is). We wanted to surround our talent tools with other services that would help those talented people perform up to their potential.
One of the primary benefits of having a clear and powerful reason for being is that it reminds your team what they are shooting for every day, why they come to work, and how their work adds value to the clients you serve. Don’t underestimate the value in this—especially for long-term retention (of both your people and your customers).
Once your reason for being is clear, a natural next step is to be able to describe succinctly how you accomplish that mission. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we developed what we call our performance formula to explain the process we use:
Talent + Training + Tactics = Performance
The formula allows us, in just four words, to explain that we start with a talented salesperson, train them well, and then use appropriate tactics to move the market. All 3 Ts lead to revenue performance at both the micro and macro levels.
We have also used turning talent into performance as a filter for potential new business opportunities. When we first considered entering the inbound marketing business, we asked if it would help us help b2b sales organizations turn talent into performance. Because we understood that inbound marketing can sharply increase the flow of sales qualified prospects, thereby allowing salespeople to spend more time using their sales talent, the answer was obviously yes. So we entered the inbound marketing business, we now run a fast-growing division called LeadG2, and LeadG2’s leader Matt Sunshine just published the book LeadG2: Getting Prospects to Raise Their Hands.
I could go on and on relating how our reason for being has helped us, but I’ll stop after one more example. Turning talent into performance is a guiding principle when we are tailoring solutions for clients and prospects. A new prospect came to me recently wanting to send a few people to our Facilitator Certification Workshop so they could learn how to run effective brainstorming sessions to develop better ideas for their prospects. I could have just sold those two seats and moved on. Instead, I tailored a solution with a few additional pieces that will greatly increase the likelihood that this organization will see tangible revenue from their work with us. It took 50% more effort for what was only a 10% revenue upsell, but I did it so I could help that company turn talent into performance—not just sell them a few workshop seats.
Most everything here at The Center has meaning. The multi-hued blue icon that serves as our corporate logo (pictured left)? It’s not just a pretty face. It represents our Performance Prism, which is a tool and process we often use at the inception of a new business relationship. It helps us do two things: to understand the client’s business at a very fundamental level and to identify strategic areas in need of attention. You won’t be surprised to learn that suggesting the client clarify its reason for being is very much a part of that Prism process.