If It Can Happen to Boeing

I cry inside (and sometimes out) when I hear the following uttered by supposed sales leaders.

“We know our sales process” (they probably don’t)

“We know our ideal customer profile” (they very likely don’t really)

“We fully test our new products” … they absolutely do not.

Alright, so you could argue that last one is not solely Sales responsibility. But I feel we should bear some. And are usually better off for doing so.

Well. I was talking with someone American based who stated that they could not imagine any product in their sphere (let’s call it software-as-a-service) ever coming out without thorough testing with a beta (or in american, bay-der) customer.

I began to recalibrate their view.

Most surely accept the folly of pushing anything straight from benches to market.

Yet lab-based time can be long and varied.

I heard myself referring, without any prior prep, to the recent tragedies of the 737-Max jet; “if it can happen to Boeing, then it can happen to anyone…”

That well documented tale is of a leap somewhere between incremental and seismic falling due to an autopilot anti-stall glitch.

There’s a company with untold resource. Financial, development, marketing, power and influence.

And yet its latest big trailblazing product launch, a disaster.

I similarly shudder when I learn that an upcoming issue is to be “big bang”. Piloting (or to give it the occasional political label, Test Marketing) consigned to the business trashcan of bloated, torpid and indulgent failed practice of the distant past.

The temptation is for us to step aside from any activity considered non-selling. In the main, all distractions are tarred with being quota-choking. Yet the pre-release work can have a serious affect on later sales numbers.

Forget for now future blame games. Like many a thing you might wish to build, foundations are critical. Do you really want to receive delivery sight unseen? Are you monitoring – shaping, even – how you’re going to be given the platform to succeed (exceed) once ‘live’?

Have the latest capabilities been both utilised in the field and acknowledged for the jump they bring?

Boeing’s apparently written explanation in a training manual update allegedly cost lives. Hopefully your full launch planning will avoid your own crash.

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