I recently sent this email to the head of sales for a company with whom we did our Accelerator 1.0 program. He is a new “Shaman,” (a little whale hunting speak from my book “Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company” with Barbara Weaver Smith), and he has decided to change the roles of one of his people to that of a “scout.” A scout gathers information and is the first contact lead qualification and interest generation.

Here’s what I sent:

      “As you get started in your first Shaman role over your scout, consider the following:

1. Keep him on a short leash. He needs you to set daily goals on information (dossiers), and eventually people and calls. This isn’t over-management, it is just holding onto the bike while the kid gets used to riding without training wheels.
2. Feed him. You need to be in the media information flow around your key markets. Do a quick Google search every day, and send him an article or a new key word to add. Do something that keeps you connected to leading him in the work he is doing in the market.
3. Take the first hits. If he is going to make his first calls to prospects, make them with him on a conference call. Let him listen to you. He needs to get confidence in this new space.
4. Keep your foot on the gas. At this point, you need to change planning into action, so keep the intensity up of your expectations.
5. Read and react, Manning style. Look at the information you are getting from the process and make the recalibrations to what the market is telling you. Reset the dossier, the script, the benefit language and so on, but wait until after the first quarter to do it. You can’t run one series of plays and think you have it all figured out and blow up the gameplan. Get the data, then recalibrate.

Finally, I’m on your team. All of this is new or newer. Let’s stay connected, especially on the ‘what ifs?’ that invariably come up when implementing new approaches.”


I often see the sales process get stalled out in the scouting process. We build a fantastic sales process, great market message and approach but then no one makes contacts into the market. It’s like leaving a Ferrari in the garage and wondering why you are not enjoying it. (I have a couple of clients who are probably reading this right now and cringing. And yes, I am talking to you. Out of consideration, I won’t name names, but the states are Ohio, DC and California). The easy fall-guy for this situation is the sales person, but the real accountability goes back to leadership and management one-layer up. It is our responsibility to drive the planning into action.

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