Sprint or Marathon? Do you have the right talent to succeed?

by Dave Lindstrom

Whether you are in sports or in business, you understand the term, “Sprint To The Finish.”

Many companies perpetuate this mindset by weighting their sales forecasts heavier in Q3 and Q4. Having worked for large and small companies, I can say with confidence that neither are immune to behaving this way.

In a typical year, this manifests itself as higher expectations to produce results bubble up, specifically over the final three months of the year. If your company’s fiscal year follows the calendar year, that means this “sprint” begins towards the end of September and will continue through December 31st

As we all know by now, this year is anything but a typical year. 

After spending hours talking with business leaders from large, medium, and small companies, I’m seeing one constant:

Normal year-end sprints are very likely to start earlier than normal due to COVID-19

As companies and workers get back into the office and back on the road, they are really feeling the need to go faster for longer in order to hit budget, or even to just minimize their losses for the year. 

Running track provides an excellent analogy here, as runners are specifically gifted at certain events like sprints and marathons. The thing to remember is that sprinters are built and trained to go really fast for a shorter period while marathoners are built and trained to go for a really long time but not necessarily super fast. Salespeople can be very similar in nature. 

Many salespeople thrive at going hard and fast for 3-4 months, producing top-end results. Others prefer to go long and slow, producing equal results, just spread out over a 12-month period. As the world gets back to whatever our normal is going to be, having the right person in the right seat becomes more important now than it ever has. With the annual sprint to the finish beginning earlier in 2020, which salesperson is the best fit for your organization?

As businesses assess where they currently are and where they want to be in the coming months, they cannot afford to skip the step of evaluating if they have the right people to get it done. 

As we enter the second half of 2020, companies need to evaluate their own team to make sure that the people in place today have the skill sets to achieve the current goals. As the sprint to the finish begins during this COVID-19 era, what type of salespeople are on your team? What does your business need today? Tomorrow?

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