In today’s business climate, managers are looking for more staff with a broader range of business expertise. The continual wave of disruption caused by startups and technological developments is causing havoc on almost every business. Corporate leaders report that they require individuals at all levels who are capable of understanding, appreciating, and contributing to strategic initiatives and systematic changes.
Leaders expect managers to focus on the big picture of the organization, create relationships throughout the culture, and contribute to the firm’s goals being met. It is not just an issue of subject-area competence but also of an individual’s capacity to grasp numerous aspects of a business at risk when problems emerge.
Business acumen is not one thing. Rather, business acumen refers to the set of attributes and capabilities that every businessperson must grasp in order to effectively contribute to the company’s goals. It is also significant because it assists in guiding business employees in how to consciously plan their business careers.
Business Acumen in Sales:
Only recently has business acumen become one of the key determinants of sales success. In the past, having product knowledge, features and advantages knowledge, and a good sales acumen was frequently sufficient (overcoming objections, rapport building, etc.).
As the function of value creation in sales has grown, a new set of talents has been required.
Great salesmen understand how businesses operate. They understand their company’s go-to-market strategy, its unique value proposition, how they compete and succeed in their market, and their financial indicators
Great salespeople also understand how their clients compete in their market segments, as well as their clients’ unique value propositions and financial indicators.
Outstanding salesmen have evolved into great business generalists.
Excellent salesmen are at ease discussing profitability, metrics, throughput, and a variety of other financial data. They are equally at ease establishing ROI with a spreadsheet as they are presenting ideas with PowerPoint.
Great salespeople are at ease discussing execution with their client’s operations employees as well as technical ideas and details with their client’s technical team. Great salesmen are at ease debating compliance and legal concerns with their client’s procurement and risk management teams.
Great salespeople use their business acumen to discover areas where value can be created, to create a vision of how that value can solve problems or create a competitive advantage, and to collaborate with their clients to develop solutions that achieve the promised results.
Business Acumen for Managers:
Managers at all levels require a strong level of business acumen in order to do their duties. They make decisions every day, many of which involve enormous sums of money. Managers who make these decisions with a hazy knowledge of how they will effect financial outcomes or organizational goals can end up hurting the company.
Business Acumen for Employees:
There is little argument regarding the need of managers developing business acumen. Organizations, on the other hand, may doubt the need for this understanding at the employee level. Frontline contributors, on the other hand, individuals immediately involved in production or customer service, perform actions that have an impact on business results.
Consider the salesperson who offers good discounts, or the maintenance worker who orders a new part rather than maintaining the old. Each of their actions has a financial consequence.
No employee sets out to make a terrible financial decision on purpose. However, they may lack the context to evaluate alternatives if they do not comprehend how their activities affect the company’s results.