Long Term Successful Business Development Careers: What We Learn from Hawaii

Both employer and salesperson share congruent long terms goals: long successful business development careers. Sales careers can be truncated by:

  1. Salesperson burn out
  2. product/service obsolescence

Assume neither of these occurs. Is anything else needed for a long successful business development career?

The natural history of Hawaii provides an interesting approach to this question.

Very little of Hawaii’s flora and fauna is native “Hawaiian”. Over the centuries, since the Polynesians first visited Hawaii, it has been a fertile home for exotic varieties. Having developed in isolation for millions of years, the native species lost their defenses, permitting exotics to dominate. As an example: one section of the rain forest in the Volcano National Park is overrun by ginger bushes, from one or two plants brought at one time by a visitor.

One is reminded of the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” from the original Star Trek series. Just as Tribbles multiplied beyond absorption capacity in a friendly environment, so do most plants, when brought of Hawaii.

Today, Hawaii has an assortment of vigorous plant life, through non stop change – validating Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

Compare the long natural history of Hawaii with long product life cycles.

image002In the 1970’s there was a debate among product managers, as to how long a product’s life cycle should prevail. There were those who argued 30-50 years was a very long, successful life cycle. The product managers at Coca-Cola® and Ivory® soap, among other, argued that a properly managed brand could last indefinitely – certainly over 100 years.

Coca-Cola® certainly has a very long product life cycle. Close inspection of Coca-Cola’s history shows a record of non-stop innovation.

Coca-Cola’s ® history of non-stop innovation includes:

  1. product formulation
  2. packaging
  3. distribution
  4. advertising

image004In effect, the very long product life cycle is composed of many smaller product life cycles. The long curve represents the intersection, or tangency points, between the short term innovation and the long term curve.

Organizations, life Hawaii, develop hardy systems by non-stop innovation.

Is this process different for business developers?

Can they learn their craft, find a market niche and a set of relationships, and reside there comfortably forever, unchanging?

Undoubtedly, some business developers can achieve this Nirvana.

The rest of us, and those who prudently allow for setbacks and market changes, are well advised to seek non-stop innovation.

New ideas, successfully implemented, are the lifeblood of and drive a long flourishing sales career, just as they drive a long product life cycle.

How can the business developer innovate? These can include new methods in:

  • Communication
  • Sales management
  • Self-motivation and commitment, and
  • Of great importance – sales technique – the standard sales call
  • The sales campaign

We need a powerful standard sales call – a step by step procedure to help the prospect make the right decision – to buy from us. We need to improve the standard sales call, over time, to change with business conditions – including changing competition.

Without non-stop innovation we are destined to be supplanted by the next hardy stock brought to our island, our market. With non-stop innovation, we can enjoy a long successful sales career, approaching Coca-Cola® longevity.