Exogenous & Endogenous Shocks

So the IMF made news yesterday for doubling its relief provision to poor countries during this recession from its “exogenous shock” fund.  Not normally much of sales worthiness to report there, although it’s certainly not an everyday phrase and consequently alerts the ear.

My memory of what that actually means is that when something’s exogenous, it emanates from outside of your normal environment and control.  The opposite is endogenous, when the event which impacts you is nearby, an everyday happening and typically something over which you may have an element of control over.

There’s another distinction possible, namely that exogenous events tend to be huge.  They’re massive one-off bangs.  Whereas endogenous impacts are small, potentially regular ripples.

Natural environmental disasters are often framed using this scale (earthquakes, floods, even epidemiology).  The success of artistic pursuits can also be linked to these poles.  Do you attain greater success from an appearance on Oprah (an exogenous event) or from (endogenous) word-of-mouth generated recommendations starting from family and friends?

I feel this has interesting ramifications for solution sales campaigns.  Can you adapt this thinking to maximise chances of a contract award?

Endogenous events are our staple.  Numerous phone calls, one-on-one meetings and email threads with your closest contacts.  But what about the other kind?

What would constitute an exogenous shock, and how would you try and create one to your advantage?  I think that anything that highlights and piles greater pressure on the problem you resolve that comes from left-field would be beneficial.

In this case, how do you influence those elements beyond the realms of your typical arena that in turn can influence your prospect?

The first things that spring to mind are what their customers and suppliers might say and do.  You can go further out into their industry, and other market payers or competitors.  And then don’t forget internal machinations, with those actions and deeds of colleagues from departments you’d never normally encounter.

Then there’s another slant.  If endogeny involves effects of run-of-the-mill contact, how about creating an exogenous event?  What would be the outcome of getting every single person you need to influence into the same room or attend the same event?  What would the premise of such a forum be? And how would you use it to genuinely progress?

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.