Selling Innovation Is Hard Without Tenacity and Innovation Leadership
Deadly sins 6 and 7 that contribute to why selling innovation is hard relate to tenacity and innovation leadership. In the first 3 parts of our series on why selling innovation is hard (see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), we covered deadly sins 1 through 5. If your sales team has managed to avoid these 5 sins, make sure they avoid the last 2 deadly sins:
- Lack of tenacity
- Lack of innovation leadership
Importance of Tenacity
The definition of tenacity is the quality of being very determined. Being very determined when selling innovation is a necessity both externally with a customer and internally within your company. Many salespeople are excited about their company’s innovation. They believe that the customer is going to be equally as excited when the sales team introduces it to them. The reality is often quite different.
Innovation represents change to processes, technology and employees. Salespeople should prepare for a customer reaction ranging from flat rejection to apathetic reception. Some will respond positively but that is likely to be the exception rather than the norm.
External tenacity becomes important because the salespeople will have to go back to the customer (maybe even several times) and look at framing and reframing the innovation in order get them through the possibility of change. On the other side, salespeople may be receiving input from a customer in order to better shape the innovation into a mold that fits best with that particular customer’s structure and situation. Internally, salespeople need to be tenacious when taking the input to others in the organization. The internal sell can be even more difficult than the external sell. This puts the salespeople’s tenacity and skills to their biggest test.
Importance of Innovation Leadership
If the is successful in avoiding the first 6 of these deadly sins, you can still find yourself in a world of trouble if there is a lack of innovation leadership. This leadership revolves around the importance and understanding of innovation. Leadership is not just telling reps to sell innovation. Leadership is helping salespeople sell innovation externally and internally. Innovation leaders prepare to get actively involved in more customer innovation conversations and meetings. Additionally, innovation leaders prepare to be a tenacious champion on behalf of their customer and their salespeople to support the internal selling. When leadership does not embrace selling innovation and view it as essential to the company’s DNA, that mentality will trickle down to the sales teams until the collective group feels apathetic towards innovation.
Now that we have discussed all 7 deadly sins, imagine walking into The Shark Tank having committed even a single one of them. Are you confident you’d get a bite? Selling innovation is already tough, don’t make tougher!
See the other posts in the series for more about selling innovation and the 7 deadly sins:
- What is Innovation | Why Selling Innovation is Hard | Part 1
- Why Customers Want Innovation and How It Helps | Why Selling Innovation is Hard | Part 2
- Understanding Customers and Being Curious | Why Selling Innovation is Hard | Part 3
- Selling Innovation Is Hard Without Tenacity and Innovation Leadership | Part 4 | Why Selling Innovation is Hard