In today’s episode of B2B Business Challenges, we’re going to talk about ways in which you can recognize if you or your organization is sucking wind. Specifically, we’re going to cover the Big Three:

  1. Falling for Clickbait
  2. Falling for Buzzwords
  3. Falling for Sales Automation

While there are other ways in which you and your organization can be sucking wind, these three are the most common, the most dangerous, and the most likely to inflict the chronically gullible.

We’re Good

Falling for clickbait is the contemporary equivalent of reading your own press releases. Get an Adwords account. Create a few campaigns. Monitor them relentlessly to make sure they’re being seen and clicked. Count every impression and click. Report them dutifully to your boss (of course). Then get ready to re-market, create more campaigns, monitor them relentlessly to make sure they’re being seen and clicked, count every impression and click, and report them to your boss (natch).

Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to do those things because your sales will be sucking wind.

Clarity: RIP

Plain language is dead. Why? Because if more people don’t know what they’re talking about, there’s more opportunity for people who don’t know what they’re doing. So, instead of letting people contribute the products of their initiative, their resourcefulness, their creativity, and their imagination as parts of their jobs, we position innovation as a strategy. Then we can impose innovation-on-demand as a criterion for judgment: “Ya know, Wally, you fell a little short in your innovation metrics during this last review period.”

Don’t worry. You’ll have time to impose all the innovation you want because you won’t be distracted by anything clear, meaningful, or productive.

Somewhere Over the Rainbowpot

As an Irishman, I’m fond of leprechauns and the pots of gold they promise to have squirreled away at the ends of their rainbows. But that doesn’t mean I believe in them. If I did, I’d believe in the promises made by politicians, that the balloon-van from Publisher’s Clearing House will show up and tell me to take the rest of my life off, in the avalanches of sales and revenue to be delivered by marketing-automation software. Since I don’t, I’ll leave this one to my colleagues and fellow author, Dan McDade, who generously grants me my irreverent sarcasm and consents to be quoted here anyway:

One of the biggest software companies in the world has a division that spends over $200,000 per year on leads that sales refuses to follow-up on. Why don’t they follow-up? Because … it turned out that only 1.8% were even qualified companies … None were actually leads.

That, kids, is what’s known in the biz as a wake-up call. If you’ve decided to hit Snooze, don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to sleep — to sleep, perchance to dream — when your business fails.

The Good News

Sucking wind is not a permanent or necessarily terminal condition. Even if you’re falling for clickbait, buzzwords, and sales automation, if you’re still afloat, you’re still alive. And if you’re still alive, there’s hope.

All you need to do is to apply these proven antidotes to each of the Big Three causes of wind-sucking:

  1. If it seems too good, incredulous, implausible, outrageous, or flat-out false to be true, trust your instincts.
  2. If a word doesn’t mean anything — or if people asked to define it start talking like a hybrid of Porky Pig and Ralph Kramden — don’t take the bait.
  3. If you think marketing-automation software is a set-it-and-forget antidote to working hard, qualifying prospects, and fully engaging in personal interaction with those prospects, try this.

But the best remedy for sucking wind is to believe more strongly in common sense than in luck.

People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have. (Anne Tyler)