According to a quick Google search, an older version of the iPhone had 34 individual components.
This is to say something obvious: a cell phone isn’t really a cell phone. It’s a collection of individual parts that do different things. There’s a wifi antenna, bluetooth antenna, NFC antenna, cell antenna, a screen, RAM, a processor, storage, a battery…the list goes on. In concert, these components make up one insanely useful (and distracting) device.
Steve Jobs surely told his team every year “let’s make a better phone,” though he was probably much more forceful (and colorful, but this is a polite business interaction).
“Make a better phone” isn’t an order that can be actioned, though. Instead, the team would’ve looked at the individual components of the phone, and made improvements to each. Some years they updated the screen quality but used the same wifi antenna. In other years they boosted processor speed but left the screen the same. The collection of these marginal improvements led, ten years later, to a device that’s unrecognizable compared to Year 1.
Make repeated and incremental improvement to the components, one at a time, and the whole thing will be dramatically improved. It’s an iterative process, which is also (and not coincidentally) how the scientific method works.
Improving your sales process and results is exactly the same, just with different components.
If you break your sales funnel into its constituent stages, you start to have a “device” whose components can be improved:
- Initial Meeting
- Discovery Conversations (Problem, Goals, and Value)
Where in your sale do you need the most improvement? Focus there. Pick a starting place and relentlessly measure and improve it until you’re satisfied enough to move on to the next.
If you aren’t getting enough meetings, focus on that individual part of the sales process until you’re satisfied with the number of meetings you’re getting. If your discovery conversations aren’t yielding insights for both you and your client, you need to improve discovery. If you’re failing to create a compelling offer, try improving your offer and how you present it.
Make these incremental improvements, one at a time (or perhaps two or three at a time if you have enough managers and support staff), and you’ll start to see the entire sales process produce more results.
The fact is that each component proportionally impacts the overall outcome. Focusing on a single component is sufficient to make regular and measurable improvements to your process as a whole. And once you improve multiple stages, you start create compounding improvements.
The path to transformation is slow, and starts with setting your baseline condition for an individual stage, and iterating and improving upon it. It’s the best way to make focused and repeated improvements to your process.
If you wanted to create a better cell phone, you’d need to give it better and better components. If you want a more effective sales process, you need to create more effective sales stages.