As we head into super bowl week it is interesting to note that both the Steelers and the Packers have won back to back super bowls in their illustrious histories. Winning one title is a fantastic achievement but many sports people will contend that coming back and doing it in consecutive years is even tougher.
Some of the reasons for this can be complacency, motivation dip, your opponents being more attuned to your strengths and able to counter them better. In other words getting to the top is one thing, staying there is quite another.
That is why I was delighted to meet with two organizations over the past couple of weeks who are both industry leaders and who both broke sales records in their respective market segments in 2010. It was refreshing to hear such success stories at a time when we are so used to hearing about struggle and decline. What I found even more impressive (and frankly uplifting) was the fact that the leadership of these organizations was anxious not to rest on their laurels but rather to look at ways of improving and continuing to evolve their sales organizations.
It is often erroneously assumed by some people that performance improvement initiatives are more geared towards remediation of problems and that a high performing sales organization should be left well alone. It has, however, been proven that in business as in sport staying on top is often harder than getting to the top. The smart, savvy companies like the ones I have spent time with recently understand this and realize that over time even top performing sales people can become over-reliant on relationships or can almost unconsciously begin to apply the same sales process to every customer and prospect rather than adapt to where they are in the Buying Cycle™ or they can simply plateau as motivation and drive gives way to complacency.
Sunday's match-up will be a fascinating one with two powerful teams both peaking at the right time. It will be even more interesting, however, to see how the eventual winner fares next year!