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Sales IS A Numbers Game!

by David Brock on May 2nd, 2011

Sales is a numbers game–there is absolutely no doubt about that.  Our “numbers” are well publicized throughout the organization, they are indelibly imprinted in our minds, (at least annually).  We are driven to meet our goals–to make the numbers.

High performance sales is a Smart Numbers Game!   As with, every sales person, high performers are numbers driven, but they look at numbers differently.

  • High performers don’t blindly dial 100’s of numbers a week, with mind numbing pitches for “Can I Have 15 Minutes Of Your Time?”  They know that is a low payoff activity and a waste of their time.
  • High performers don’t pepper their customers and prospects with email after email announcing the latest greatest product, and suggesting meetings to talk about their great technologies.
  • High performers don’t compete for “who’s got the most Twitter followers,” or any of the other stupid social media games we see too many others pursuing.

High performing sales professionals are relentlessly analytic and numbers focused.  For example, they pay enormous attention to their funnels and pipelines–but they look at them differently than most sales people.  They look at them and question, “Do I have enough opportunities and the right deal flow to make my goals?”  They carefully analyze win rates, sales cycle times, average deal size.  They know working on those dramatically reduces the number of opportunities needed to make their numbers.  They look at the quality of opportunities in the funnel–not just the volume.  They prefer having a smaller number of opportunities of high quality, rather than filling their funnels with garbage–high quality opportunities lead to higher win rates.

High performers viciously protect and analyze how they spend their time.  They want meetings, but they want the right meetings.  Meeting with the right people, at the right time, engaging customers in the right conversations.  They don’t have meetings for meeting or activity sake.  Every meeting is purposeful–they want to use both their customers’  and their own time well.  High performers take the time to plan and think.  They know they are more effective by doing things right and having a great impact the first time, then to spend 10 more meetings correcting bad execution in the first meeting.

High performers track their numbers–just like any other sales person.  But they track their customers’ numbers.  They know the KPI’s for each of their customers, they know how to look at those numbers to identify challenges and problems the customer may be having.  They know how to translate their customers numbers into opportunities to help their customers–and, oh by the way, sell more.  Additionally, they constantly analyze their performance with customers and within their territories–how much of the territory are they covering, where are the opportunities?  How much of the customer are they covering, are they missing opportunities?  Are there opportunities to sell other product lines?

High performers are numbers oriented–they want to maximize the deal value and their profit margin.  They know the way to do this is by creating business cases that are more compelling than any of their competition.  They know it takes no skill to sell on price, and that selling on price creates littel sustainable value or advantage.

High performers know their own performance numbers–not just where they are in quota attainment, but a whole set of other numbers.  They want to be as effective and efficient as possible.  They know if they don’t continue to improve their productivity, that it will impact their ability to reach their own goals.  So when you talk to a high performing sales person, they will have a number of KPI’s on themselves.  These KPI’s guide their performance and day to day activities.

High performers have a high focus on the time dimension of their numbers.  Are they accelerating things as much as possible–are they finding opportunities to compress buying/selling cycles–accelerating the benefits customers get as well as accelerating their own revenue generation.  They also look at longer time frames, knowing that if they aren’t focused on doing the right things now, they may have great difficulty making their numbers next quarter, next year.

Sales is a numbers game!  Numbers have never been more important.  But it’s about Smart Numbers–numbers that create value for the customer, numbers that help improve their own productivity and effectiveness.

 Announcements:

I’m honored to be speaking at a number of important events in the coming couple of weeks.  I hope you can make them, it would be great to see you participate and to spend time with you.

May 6, Cambridge, MA:  MIT Sloan Sales Conference, Selling In A New Normal.  It’s at the Cambridge Hyatt.  Use the following discount code:  MITSLSCLB_SpeakerFriend to get $75 off.  Hope to see you there, please look for me so we can meet.

May 10, 2011, Top Sales World’s 2011 Sales and Marketing Success Conference.  I’m speaking on “Is Selling At An Inflection Point?”  The  web conference has 36 speakers and will be held from 9th-13th.  Each module costs $5–but it’s donated to the Red Cross for Japan Earthquaked relieve.  Visit the site and choose the 10 that you want to attend.

May 12, Customer Think’s Social CRM Summit.  This is a free web conference with thought leaders talking about various aspects of Social CRM, and how sales professionals must leverage these in engaging customers in the “new buying.”

All should be fantastic events.  I privileged to participate, please join me!

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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One Comment
  1. Hi Dave,

    Always happy to meet someone who gets the numbers game. It’s about which numbers you analyze, not how many. Measure, analyze, evaluate and adjust. It’s a simple recipe, but mistakes easily add up if they get made at every step of the process.

    Wim

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