Actions Trump Ideas in B2B Marketing and Sales

In his seminal book, Managing Oneself, my favorite business management guru/consultant Peter Drucker made the following observation: “For example, a planner may find that his beautiful plans fail because he does not follow through on them. Like so many brilliant people, he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozers should go to work.”

I love this quote, and it doesn’t just apply to moving mountains, but also covers what we are involved in on a daily basis: moving prospects forward on their buyer’s journey. Planning is very important, but no one ever purchased anything because of a plan – rather, they purchased because someone took action and executed on a plan. To achieve the benefits we seek, we must implement the plan. No amount of magical thinking will make prospects respond to offers or purchase products and services. You and I need to take action to encourage people to act, or at least be there when they type in a search term that is related to what you are offering.

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Smart people who work hard are often referred to as being lucky. You’ve probably heard the expression “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Lucky people tend to put themselves out there by taking actions that often lead to good outcomes. This is what I refer to as “practical serendipity.” But serendipity is not some magic thing that happens to us out of the blue. It manifests when we expose ourselves to the right people and circumstances (e.g. putting yourself in front of people who can buy your products or services).

In The Power of Pull, John Hagel states, “Serendipity can be shaped: we can make choices that will increase our ability to attract people and resources to us that we never knew existed, leading to serendipitous encounters that prove enormously valuable.”  If you change the words in Hagel’s quote from “make choices” to “take actions,” you will achieve better outcomes and a gain a fruitful measure of practical serendipity.

As the character Morpheus stated in the movie The Matrix, “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” When it comes to our B2B marketing and sales efforts, most of us could probably benefit from a little less knowing and a little more walking.

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