Following others’ examples often establishes how leaders define and manage their organization.  Whether it’s coaching a football team, running a car company, or managing a sales organization – how leadership executes is often based on the way everyone before us did it.

That approach may work fine – until your competition change the rules.

When it’s time to break tradition.

The teams around the NFL didn’t have to wait long to realize Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers were playing a different game than the rest of the league.  They found out every Sunday.  Following San Fran’s four championships in eight years offense in the NFL was changed forever.

Detroit’s Big Three were not as quick studies.  According to data from Ward’s Automotive, the Big Three’s (GM + Ford + Chrysler) market share for the U.S. went from above 90% in 1965 to below 45% in 2009.  The US car company – in fact much of US industry – forever surrendered their dominance.

Decades ago, corporations such as IBM, Xerox and ATT established the sales model still practiced by most of today’s companies.  Disciplines they established around strategic selling, account planning and sales management created generations of sales forces that achieved great results for their companies.

Today however there is a supernova of forces remaking that traditional sales model.  Every conventional rule and role of the sales process is undergoing transformational change.  Nothing in the old model is being left unchallenged, from lead creation, to the role of the rep, to sales process, to management, to measurement.

So what?

Best-in-class sales organizations achieve win rates in the mid-thirties*.  They do this by adapting to these new rules, implementing best practices and measuring everything that matters.  They are gaining market share on their competition and are the go-to employers for the best sales people.

*According to benchmarking data from multiple studies measuring B2B sales performance across multiple industries, thousands of companies and wide varieties of transactions.

As your company’s CEO or Sales Leader it is your choice to break from tradition and be the groundbreaker that changes the rules.   Isn’t that why you took the job?