The REAL Problem with Distraction
There’s no denying that there are plenty of distractions around these days. In someways lockdowns and social distancing magnify distractions rather than eliminating them which makes it more likely that distraction will morph into mistakes.
The following story might be funny… if it wasn’t very nearly disastrous:
Angela had several sales conversations going on concurrently, each of which had multiple stakeholders and was in a different stage in her pipeline. Her company had also set up a strong lead generation system which was delivering her sales team more than 20 hot leads per week because her target market was feeling extremely vulnerable to IT security holes and wanted everything fixed yesterday. Her diary was full and she was running at full speed to take advantage of the opportunities being offered as were all the other members of the team.
On Monday she took a call from the project lead on a new client who had just signed their contract the previous week and had their on-boarding scheduled for Wednesday. The moment she picked up the phone she knew from his tone that she had a major problem brewing…
And she was correct!
“Angela, it’s Gavin here. We signed that contract in good faith last week. Today, I discovered that you have sent another, much cheaper, proposal to us. Can you explain the differences?”
Angela got the full story from Gavin, asked him to give her a couple of hours to look into things, and to send her through the two proposals, then she set up a call for later that day. It turned out that another sales rep had been talking to the same company and had also sent through a proposal for a much smaller project scope.
The sales team had been so busy that they hadn’t gone through things carefully during their daily standup and both Angela and her colleague had failed to follow the ‘Company Cross-Check’ Process that was designed to prevent this kind of incident.
During her call with Gavin, she was able to explain the differences in the two proposals’ scope satisfactorily and remind him that they had talked about the lower value project during the process of arriving at the contract they signed so that everything was resolved satisfactorily. Fortunately, they had a good relationship and plenty of trust already… But it wasn’t the way Angela wanted to start the delivery process.