So say Larry Downes and Paul Nunes in their new book – ‘Big Bang Disruption – Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation’. This one phrase struck a chord with me. Anyone involved in sales in the past 10+ years has experienced the ‘expert’ buyer who had more answers than ever before. The time taken to make a decision seems longer than ever too – once again a product of the information search employed by buyers.
Their book was an interesting view into strategy development and execution with a new perspective. They take on the acknowledged leaders in strategy development – Michael Porter – and in innovation strategy – Clayton Christensen. They shared many interesting examples of companies developing new ‘Big Bang’ products that take their markets by storm for a period of time before entering the Big Crunch (or drop) in the same accelerated time frame as the Big Bang (ascent.)
Their prescription is to ‘compete on all strategic dimensions at once. Enter the market better, cheaper, and customized; innovate constantly’. They recommend to ‘market to all customer segments immediately and be ready to scale up – and to exit swiftly.’ On the innovation front they believe in ‘launching low-cost experiments directly into the market. Combine reusable components rather than designing from scratch’. One of the reasons for this approach is the existence of ‘near perfect market information’. This allows for instantaneous adoption of new market experiments.
This brings us back to the emphasis on ‘search’. The bane of the sales person and their company is the delay by the purchasing organization to make a decision.
Well get used to it – it is here to stay. Sales organization’s need to operate as nimble teams that know their customers, know their needs or can uncover their needs and respond with the market intelligence and solutions that provides the appropriate answer and gains the sale.
How can you maximize this in a sales team? Stay as close as possible to your customers. Challenge the customers to share with you and your organization. Bring them ideas that might be considered disruptive to the status quo – it will enhance your reputation. Know the market and know their business. Be patient – this will take some time.
Enjoy the recaps on Nintendo and the history of their ‘Big Bang’ products; the pinball vs home gaming businesses; Kodak vs Fuji-Film; and others. In addition, pay attention to their approach and description of ‘near perfect market information’. It will explain why buyers act the way they do plus help you meet their needs and the market needs.