It’s a core and unshakeable belief, shared by all my Artemis Partnership colleagues:
Pitch less to win more.
I’ve argued this point for years. Still, I continue to find organizations that don’t get it. Yet the evidence in support of this objective continues to mount.
Consider this from a July 2019 article in HBR:
While burnout can affect anyone, at any age, in any industry, it’s important to note that there are certain sectors and roles that are at increased risk, and purpose-driven work — that is work people love and feel passionately about — is one of them.
No one argues how dreadful it can be to pursue new business when the team is unaligned, distracted or disinterested. Yes, definitely, your pursuit teams should be highly motivated, intrinsically and extrinsically. And for sure they should have a passion for the pursuit.
So what’s the problem?
Too much passion can hurt
The information is becoming increasingly clear. Even when people are engaged in work that aligns with their Purpose, too much of it without sufficient recharge and refuel time will likely lead to burnout.
Some individuals and teams might compensate by taking their feet off the gas from time to time. Understandable. Sadly, if you’re really chasing quality, strategic growth, a half-speed or half-intense pursuit effort will be noticeable to your target. And your odds of winning will get longer and longer.
So even with a driven, talented team you need to be highly selective about your pursuit activities or you’re at high risk of burning them out.
But even then, you’re not out of the woods.
You might have an inbound problem
Smart, strategic growth plans are highly selective about proactive targets. That is, those businesses the firm will pursue – and attempt to win – before an RFP arrives.
Ah, but what about those RFPs? If you’re careful about your outbound efforts, but you agree to enter nearly every inbound RFP-based competition that comes your way, you’re still buying one-way tickets for your people on the burnout crazy train.
Avoiding burnout – and winning more – can only be the result of highly-considered decisions of when to pitch and when not to pitch. And the accompanying go/no go decisions that have to be made throughout the pursuit process.
Passionate people can deliver great results only when they’ve got the energy and drive to do so. Don’t let new business burnout be the cause of your low win rates.
- Bob Wiesner