What Can Sales Take From O-Ring Theory?

I blogged on the challenge to established performance stats about three years ago (referencing the joy that is cricket). Since then, a movie based on it in American sport starring Brad Pitt became Oscar nominated.

I heard the latest expansion of such thinking has emerged from where economics meets manufacturing.

The most important part of a machine is its weakest component.

So goes O-Ring Theory (see also the wikipedia page).

The coach that took this on board ruthlessly cut his weakest players each week from the team. And the results galvanised performance to such an extent that, unfancied at the off, they won their league.

Moving along from the obvious conclusion that a sales team must eject its statistically poorest performers at regular intervals in the style of a reality talent show, there is another parallel in selling.

And for this point, I’m also not talking about one of my favourite topics, aka ‘cull your customers’… when you ‘sack’ those clients taking up most of your time for the least of your money.

I’m thinking Process. What is your O-Ring? What causes your Sales Shuttle to fall out the sky? It may not necessarily be a ‘failure’. It might be simply something that, when it occurs, means you see your deal slip the surly bonds of your forecast.

So a simple assessment should be done. Time for some lost deal analysis that avoids blaming product or price.

Are you getting clogged down with groundfloor politics? Delivering Props that incite apathy? Getting halted at gatekeeper checkpoints? Talking too much tech and not enough biz?

Ready for your O-Ring Test? Whatever the weakest part of your process is, now’s the time to find it, and drop it.

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