A couple of years ago, I was in a mastermind with another entrepreneur who specialized in lead gen and sales. He had just launched a website for selling his expertise as a consultant. The website was sharp, but what most impressed me was his inquiry flow. It seamlessly transitioned from a video pitch to a slide in form with conditional logic for the fields.

More recently, I had a conversation with a consultant around the sophistication of different types of industries. He held enterprise software and insurance as two industries that were excellent at selling. As an example, he talked about the intricate marketing automation that powered follow-ups and segmented customers.

Sophistication is a kind of magic. All the wonderful technological advances that we use day-to-day are inscrutable. It’s natural to infer that if something is convoluted that it must also be powerful.

As it relates to growth, it’s easy to think that you can buy or build your way to growth by tacking on sophistication.

You look outside your business for opportunities and see complex solutions and reason that they must be a magical difference.

The antidote to this fallacy is Gall’s Law:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.

John Gall

Effective video pitches and conditional forms started as sales conversations. Effective marketing automation started as a manual system derived from managing sales conversations.

Though we want to buy or build around challenges without surmounting them our real opportunity is to face our simple, and often hard, problems.

What is working in your business? This is your opportunity to optimize to a higher functioning, perhaps even sophisticated, level.

Where are the problems in your business? This is your ground for innovation.

Featured image is “The Self Operating Napkin” by Rube Goldberg. Originally published in Collier’s, September 26 1931. Used under Public Domain.