Unseen Variables: What Candy Crush & Effective Sales Strategies Have in Common

Elizabeth Murawski - Manager of Strategy & Growth


Candy Crush

I play Candy Crush sometimes. (Okay, okay, I know; to all those who believe these games are a waste of time, don’t judge!)

Quite seriously, though, the puzzles are fun and challenging the higher you go. It has taken me a long time to learn, but the more complex the puzzle, the better you must be at seeing the whole picture.

Players learn to balance the strategy of the game (making the most points possible at each level) and the puzzle strategy to achieve the goal, and it can be a fun downtime activity.

I am always stumped by levels that have a time bomb. This little, dastardly thing counts by moves you make. It may start at 10, but that means you either have to beat the level in less than 10 moves or get rid of the bomb in less than 10 moves.

If you are not looking at the entire board, that blasted bomb (no pun intended) thing blows up and you lose – very frustrating, indeed!

When you start something, you need to see the goal, glance at the table, and define the steps you need to get there and go. Sometimes you win, and it is just dumb luck the pieces fell where they did. When you are playing well and are on a roll, you are showing your attention to detail, patience and ability to be strategic.

Then the right pieces are put in place, the path is made clear, and you follow the path.

Sales strategies for COACT’s client campaigns behave similarly: like in some Crush gameplay, when the player is strategically plugged in and making key moves while being aware of the things happening around the board, they are innovating around the unknown.

Sales strategists, the Challengers within the sales team, know that each interaction with people – either the client or the prospect – is a move on the board.  The compelling call to action of a marketing wave or the constructive conversation where learning is conducted all derive the strategy to get closure.

COACT clients appreciate the ability for COACT to see the plays that create shifts in thinking for their markets. “World-class sales managers are defined by their ability to innovate around the unknown,” Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson remind us in their book “The Challenger Sale.”

If you’ve read the book, you have heard that Challengers are “defined by the ability to do three things: teach, tailor, and take control.” Our account managers walk a fine balance between those three things and keeping the client on the board and engaged with the goals of the work.

As I mentioned earlier, the more complex the puzzle, the better you must be at seeing the whole picture.  Am I right?

Those little time bombs in the corner of the sales board – market shifts, product-to-market timing, innovations on services or solutions – keep our Challengers up at night.

Working through opportunities, identifying the market potential and acting on the data are the lifeblood of good strategic thinking… or puzzle solving.

Flexibly managing strategy is like winning the puzzle – making quick shifts, and still winning. That is fun!