It’s that most magical time of year again. A buzz is in the air, the temperatures changing, and we’re all ready to see that grey-haired man we all know and love. Who? Santa?! No, obviously I’m talking about Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so in honor of the new release (December 15) I wanted to write a post about several lessons sales ops can learn from the greatest films of our generation.
Bring Productivity to the Sales Force, Not Destroy It!
As the late great Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Anakin Skywalker during their fateful battle on the fiery planet of Mustafar: “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to bring balance to the force, not destroy it!” If we take a moment to dissect this quote, clearly we can see he was speaking to Anakin of his destiny to work in sales operations and help the enterprise sales team of the Galactic Empire hit their goals as efficiently as possible. As I’ve mentioned in my past posts, our most important job is to help the sales team work within our systems and processes as accurately and efficiently as possible.
Keep this in mind when you are asked to create new functionality, or add more data collection into a process. You shouldn’t say yes right away — ask the requester what they’ll do with the data, and how often they’ll use it. If you think the new data collection is valuable to help your team reach their goals, and it won’t add a burden to the sales team — add it. Remember, keep the sales team productive.
Sales, I Am Your Partner
Cinematic history’s most famous plot twist comes to us high above the clouds in the city of Bespin where unbeknownst to our hero Luke, he is doing some sick laser sword fighting against his father Anakin, also known as Darth Vader. In our day-to-day job we should always strive to avoid having a similar plot twist with our sales team — a scenario where they find out that we’re actually supposed to partner with them. I’m referencing the big trap sales operators sometimes fall into — the “Us” vs. “Them” mentality. Remember, we’re here to give the sales team the help they need although it’s not always the help they want. Our work is built on the backs of their hard work, so we should join with them to rule the Galaxy together as dark lords of the Sith…err, or something like that.
Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.
This quote comes to us from a wise, three foot tall, green man — no not talking about elves, I told you this is about Star Wars — named Master Yoda. While there’s much we can learn from his teachings this is a particular quote we can apply to our work. I take it to mean something along the lines of, “Do something, not nothing.” It’s easy to fall into a trap of endless planning trying to come up with a perfect solution or process before we actually get anything done. While it’s very important to plan, don’t get stuck constantly doing it. What I mean is that if you have something that moves the needle in a positive direction, we don’t always need to make sure it’s perfect before rolling out. Oftentimes, there isn’t a perfect solution, but there’s a ton of great ones. Get cracking.
As the Last Jedi premieres this week I’m sure we’ll come up with more memorable quotes related to sales operations (as that’s what those movies are about right?) and fantastic twists to keep us on our toes. Is Supreme Leader Snoke really a stack of three Ewoks standing on each others shoulders? Is Rey’s father Jar Jar Binks? Was Harrison Ford really just playing himself in The Force Awakens? Hopefully these mysteries and more will be answered this week.