Updated: Sep 3, 2021
I read many books that compared sales and business with military and war strategy and come to the conclusion that these two are pretty much the same. In this blog post, I want to go through similarities and differences between the two and conclude that if this is a right comparison.
I have tremendous respect for veterans.
The way that they put their lives out there for the sake of our safety and security is beyond anything that anybody can do.
So, let's get this straight from the beginning; Thank you veterans for what you are doing for our country.
Ok, now that this is all sorted, I want to go through comparing the two areas and see if there are similarities or we are talking about two totally separate subjects and only creating illusions of sales vs. war strategy being one.
Organization and chain of command
This is one of the most important similarities between the two areas. In both sales and military setup, we have a hierarchy and people need to follow specific chains to get things done internally and externally.
I never have seen any sales team without hierarchy organization that people do what ever they want.
In sales, there will be a sales lead that help organize and mentor the sales team which is very similar to a military commander.
So let's get a green light to the similarities: 🟢
Both sales and military require huge focus and discipline in organizing your day to day work. There is no way you can achieve your target without being focused and disciplined around your day calendar, who you want to target and how often for instance do cold calling.
I never saw any successful sales rep that is not disciplined with their time and resources.
If you slip from your daily discipline, things will go side ways pretty quickly and you have to put yourself in this shoe again to reach an acceptable result level.
So let's get another green light to the similarities: 🟢
Sales was and never is a one man job!
I hate the term individual contributor. It simply does not exist.
There is no lone wolf.
All these terms refer to personality trait, but not necessarily the working structure.
Specially in mid size and enterprise sales, sales rep should work with different stakeholders internally to get the sales.
This includes marketing, professional services, presales, finance, legal, product engineering and perhaps some other c-level stakeholders.
Again, this is a big similarity to military and war strategy and I will give it another green light: 🟢.
Have you ever remembered a loser?!
Unless it is a big lost, the answer is no!
By the way, do not take this the wrong way. Loosing is part of life and business. Also, there is a lot to learn from losing as well.
However, the aim is sales is to win the sales.
If you keep losing the sales, there will be no business to function.
No revenue, no income.
This is very similar to military and war. If you lose the war, there is nothing left to be proud of.
Another green light: 🟢
This is another reason that I believe sales and war are similar.
Outbound sales requires so much motivation. To go out and face rejection every day takes its toll, and its very easy to lose that fire. Having a manager that has the intensity to keep people fired up, even by doing corny shit like comparing a team of sales reps to Navy SEALS may be the only way to get the desired results.
Imaging every day you wake up and go out there to bring new business to the door.
Rejection is natural part of life as well.
However, keeping your game up will be a big challenge and having the military mindset will help keeping yourself in the game.
So, here we go: 🟢
Being coachable is number one trait of a successful sales rep. Without coaching and mentoring it will be very hard to find your way.
Doing the wrong thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result is just radical.
So, can we agree that in military and war strategy, we have mentors that have been in the war before and took all these steps before us.
So, let's agree on another 🟢.
Sales is a game
Ok, I give this to you!
In some ways, sales is very similar to sport.
It is a game that you try to navigate your way through the hurdles to hit a target.
This is pure sport.
So, in this case, I give the comparison a red light: 🔴.
In conclusion, I vote to the fact that sales and war strategy are very similar and it is a good practice to learn from military stories out there and bring them back to sales and busines development.