Before the Ask.................................................Lesson 5

Before the Ask

Set up a mental grid to track seeds 

In the article “Grey Squirrels Remember the Locations of Buried Nuts” by Lucia Jacobs and Emily Liman at Princeton University the authors debunk the idea that squirrels cannot remember the locations of nuts they have buried.



In an interview the researchers state:

Squirrels arrange their bounty using “chunking,” a cognitive strategy in which humans and other animals organize spatial, linguistic, numeric or other information into smaller more manageable collections, such as subfolders on a computer. Fox squirrels stockpile at least 3,000 to 10,000 nuts a year and, under certain conditions, separate each cache into quasi “subfolders,” one for each type of nut. This suggests that squirrels use flexible strategies to store food depending on how they acquire food[3]

This mental grid that squirrels have to track their multiple seeds is similar to the customer grid you need to create a sales process to track the seeds, ask, and customer feedback data. A modern tool to help you track hundreds and thousands of seeds, customers, and data is called a Customer Relationship Management or cRm. Researchers state,


“findings did show that firms utilizing CRM, high on CRM effectiveness, had a higher correlation with the three areas of the sales process of creating opportunity, managing opportunity, and managing relationships[4]

A CRM system brings the commercial strategy to life and makes its implementation transparent and controllable. This also means that a CRM project must be the responsibility of sales and marketing leaders - not just of IT[5].

In the Seed-Time-and-Harvest sales process the CRM becomes the heart of the process which manages the “Time” before and after the “ask”, to track the entire sales process.

Track the History of Relationships

Use the cRm to help you shift the focus from making the sale to “listening, note taking, and research”. In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the author finds successful business and nonprofit leaders use the habit of listening first and speaking second (Covey, 2009). Taking notes is listening. Through your online cRm you can track the feeling of conversations, what products and services were of the most interest to each specific client and small details of the meeting which may even include, emotions, facial expressions, and micro-narrative (the stories the client uses to better express their ideas and desires).


 Understand Your True Code

The squirrel, like the bird, doesn’t need to struggle. By following the natural code on their heart they are always fed. Your code is your purpose and when you do your purpose-driven startup work it aligns with the code on your heart. Through this purposeful work you will always be fed.


[1] Squirl Mental Grid Artwork by Danial Datiles

[2] UC Berkley

[3] Anwar, Yasmin (2017) Fox squirrels use chunking to organize their favorite nuts. Berkley News

[4] Rodriguez, M., Peterson, R. M., & Krishnan, V. (2018). Impact of CRM technology on sales process behaviors: empirical results from US, Europe, and Asia. Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 25(1), 1-10

[5] May 4, 2020 Why 70% of all CRM projects fail ... and how yours will not be one of them. Anne Guethoff. LinkedIn

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