Each year HubSpot creates the "State of Inbound" report to give entrepreneurs insight into what is working and what is not working in the world of inbound marketing.
In the 2017 edition they surveyed 6,399 professionals in 141 countries to produce this year's 90 page report.
The first section is "The State of Marketing and Sales" and this is where I found this little gem about how to beat 74% of your competition.
This is where they asked "What are your company's top sales priorities for the next year?"
72% of respondents from North America ranked "Closing more deals" as #1.
Yet only 26% of those same respondents listed "Training the sales team" as a priority.
That means 74% of businesses in North America are winging it with their sales people.
That's like my beloved LSU Tigers saying "our main focus is to win the national championship this year...but we're only going to practice and train 26% of the time."
Is it any wonder so many companies struggle to survive?
Three out of four companies want to close more deals but only one out of four want to train their sales people to actually get better at closing more deals!
You have to train to win or you—YES, YOU—will fail.
No One Is Too Big To Fail
Case in point:
Below are the 20 companies that comprised the "Blue Chips" of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on October 4, 1916 (the closest I could get to 100 years ago) and their current status (or fate).
The up arrow ( ↑ ) means the company was added to the DJIA that day. (Interesting sidebar, the General Motors Corporation was dropped from this list on this day then re-added in 1928 and re-dropped in 2009!)
- The American Beet Sugar ↑
- (New owners under new name)
- Anaconda Copper Mining Company
- (Defunct as of 1983)
- The Texas Company ↑
- (Subsidiary of Chevron as of 2001)
- American Can Company ↑
- (New owners under new name and new industry)
- The Baldwin Locomotive Works ↑
- (Defunct as of 1972)
- United States Rubber Company
- (Became Uniroyal in 1961, which was acquired by Michelin in 1990)
- American Car and Foundry Company
- (Now private and owned by Carl Icahn)
- Central Leather Company
- (Liquidated in 1952 despite being one of the original 12 in the DJIA and one of the largest corporations in the United States in 1900)
- United States Steel Corporation
- (Still in business with 2015 revenue of $11.574 billion but dropped from the DJIA in 1991)
- American Locomotive Company ↑
- (Ceased trading in 1969)
- General Electric Company
- (Still in business with 2016 revenue of $123.7 billion and continuously in the DJIA since November 7, 1907)
- Utah Copper Company ↑
- (All assests acquired by the Kennecott Mines Company in 1936)
- American Smelting & Refining Company
- (Still in business but dropped from the DJIA in 1958)
- B.F. Goodrich Corporation ↑
- (Acquired by United Technologies Corporation in 2013)
- Western Union Company ↑
- (Still in business with 2013 revenue of $5.542 billion but dropped from the DJIA in 1928)
- The American Sugar Refining Company
- (Still in business but dropped from the DJIA in 1930)
- Republic Iron and Steel Company ↑
- (Was once the 3rd largest producer of stell in the United States, defunct in 1984)
- Westinghouse Electric Corporation ↑
- (Defunct in 1999 and their spinoff, Westinghouse Electric Company, filed for bankruptcy March 29, 2017)
- American Telephone and Telegraph Company ↑
- (Still in business but added and dropped from the DJIA multiple times, the most recently being dropped in 2015)
- Studebaker Corporation ↑
- (Defunct 1967)
Grow Or Die
So out of the 20 "best and brightest" companies of 101 years ago:
- 7 no longer exist
- 7 have been acquired
- 6 are still going strong.
That's a success rate of 30% among the strongest companies in the land after 100 years.
I know. I know. I can already hear you saying...
"But Wes, I don't care about some 100 year plan. I'm going to get some Angel funding, then raise several rounds of VC funding, go public, cash out, and let the investors sift through the ashes while I skinny dip on Richard Branson's island!"
"But Wes, I don't plan on starting the next AT&T or GE, I'm just trying to grow my little business to the point I can get a small office and move our equipment and inventory out of our garage."
Whether you're large or small, aggressive or timid, playing 6-year old teeball or competing for the FBS National Championship (GEAUX TIGERS!) you have to train.
Because those who compete have known for at least 2,700 years that "We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” ~Archilochus
Without good sales training you will either:
- Go out of business like those in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the "Pugs and Posies" store here in Murrieta
- Scratch out a living that will be much harder, less satisfying, and far less lucrative than it could and should be.
Good sales training is what you'll receive in one of three places:
- The Make Every Sale Program
- On-Site Sales Training (that includes lifetime access to The Make Every Sale Program)
- Live Virtual Sales Training
Remember, the discomfort of training is both of your own choosing and temporary while the pain of defeat and the loss of commissions are eternal.
Also remember that you will meet your competitors on the field of battle and they are hoping they don't see you on the training field.
Which will it be?