What Marketing & Sales Teams can learn from Space X & Elon Musk
I’ve been fortunate to have a professional career that has spanned five decades in sales, marketing and senior leadership positions. As an entrepreneur, innovation excites me, whether it be processes, people or technology.
Throughout my career, one of my mottos has been to continuously improve, always get better. It’s a core value of the company I founded 20 years ago. I’m proud that the team at Televerde is always trying to do things better, smarter and faster than the last time with every client on every project and even every personal or professional growth milestone.
As I continuously improve and learn from other industries, I’ve found the work and vision that Elon Musk pursues particularly interesting. From his successful pursuit to build the perfect, more sustainable automobile to his goal in revolutionizing space technology with SpaceX. It dates back to 2002 with the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to end all BHAGs.
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. It is a classic Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) at its finest.
More simply put and still odd to say out loud, SpaceX is in business to conquer interplanetary commercial travel. Even more impressive than this BHAG is that Musk and his team of innovators has the fortitude, intelligence and common purpose to meet this goal. The most recent milestone was reached when a SpaceX rocket not only took off successfully, but miraculously stuck a landing on a floating barge at sea. It’s a lesson to all of us in our chosen professions to reach for the impossible. Those of you who know me well, know I can’t help looking at such accomplishments without a sales and marketing lens for learnings to share. Here’s what I’ve learned from the Space X example and during my time at Televerde that is a recipe for lasting success:
- Be Bold – Don’t settle for low-hanging fruit. In fact, stop using that term in your day-to-day speech. Reach beyond a stretch goal to something game changing in your life, the lives of others and in your field. Announce it. Rally people behind it. Map out how you’ll achieve it and get going!
- Be Bright – Don’t misunderstand this one. You don’t need Musk’s education or engineering prowess to be bright; you can be the brightest by truly understanding what you don’t know, being curious and finding the people who together, can innovate your process, technology, people or products. It’s not about being the smartest person in the room, but assembling a great team to drive forward and innovate along the way.
- Be Brave – Pushing beyond stretch goals like a revenue number or lead goal is rewarding and comes with sacrifice. Think broadly when looking for ways to make a lasting impact. Develop a process that will save your company money or an opportunity for a lucrative partnership. If you have a plan and a willingness to not let your other responsibilities fall by the wayside, most companies will reward you handsomely. If not, call me and I’ll find you a place here at Televerde.
- Be Built to embrace failure – In the video link above on the SpaceX landing, there is a great line spoken by the co-narrator prior to the landing that I suspect, permeates throughout the culture of SpaceX. “If it ends in a beautiful ball of fire on our platform that is OK. We’re still going to learn a lot from it.” Take that approach to failure, and frankly put the word beautiful in front of it! Embrace that “beautiful flameout.” The key is, what did you learn? How fast can you fix the damage and reapply what you learned to avoid the same mistake?
- Be bullish on data to drive decisions – In the sales and marketing world, data-driven decision making is all the rage, with a virtual technology arms race of building a formidable tech stack. Based on what I’m seeing today, this ‘stack’ includes a marketing automation platform integrated with your CRM tool coupled with omni-channel integration capabilities to other tools that create, distribute, socialize and manage the content process and a predictive BI dashboard.While technology has certainly helped us harness knowledge and enabled us to make better decisions, my advice is to be sure you marry that technology with the human touch. Technology is a tool, but you need seasoned experts to help you interpret, pull insights and adjust strategy
Whether you already have a big goal you’re working on or need to discover one, a passion for continuous improvement and an openness to learn and push your comfort zone will hone your leadership skills. Passion for projects can be contagious in any industry.