In sales, product or any work we all do a viability calculation. What are our chances of success or limited success? How much effort are we then going to expend on that opportunity or event.
In sales we look at value of contract, change or adoption potential of customer and lastly how much pain they are in currently. The result of all these mostly qualitative evaluations determines how much we are going to invest of our time that could be used for more high return potential activities.
Yes there is also the evaluation of how much other activity is on our plates. This can be the reason that new sales pros have early success, often called the dummy curve. The truth is we tend to talk ourselves out of effort rather than into effort, the new sales pro doses everything and anything to learn, that filter of success potential is thin.
How does this play out in your evaluation of new ideas, features or product innovation? We all hear “tried that back in 2002” when ideas come up. Not knowing what happened then compared to current idea of market dynamics allows the history to win.
Learning organizations must, yes MUST maintain domain knowledge to overcome that trump card statement. Be the new sales guy and evaluate the viability of an idea on the current team, market environment and resources. Perhaps there is the capital now to mount a better R&D effort. Perhaps new technology will allow better costing or more real-time delivery.
When we do these evaluations of “worth it” they do best to look at it with the new sales guy eyes not outdated or potentially jaded filters. The best way to do this is not ignorant of the past but aware of the past, placing the past in context to the present.