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What Stories Are Your Numbers Telling You?

Your sales numbers tell a story. Your numbers paint a picture of what you believe, as well as the actions you take based on those beliefs.

If your pipeline is empty, your pipeline metrics tell the story of a salesperson (or sales organization) that isn’t prospecting. Or maybe it tells the story of someone struggling to effectively prospect in a day and age when business acumen, situational knowledge, and value creation are the price of admission.

If your pipeline is full of deals that are smaller than your target deal size, the story your average deal size tells might be about a salesperson that is calling too low because he doesn’t feel like he is producing results when he is working on the long sales cycle deals. Or maybe it’s the story of a salesperson that doesn’t call on large clients because he believes they already have partners in place, because they’re too difficult to win.

If the time your deals spend in a certain stage of your sales process is longer than it should be, your numbers tell the story of a salesperson that isn’t in control of the sales process. Your time in stage metric might tell the story of a salesperson that isn’t asking for or gaining the commitments she needs. Or it might tell the story of a salesperson that isn’t following a sales process at all.

In business-to-business sales, your numbers at the end of the quarter don’t often tell you anything about that quarter. The story your number tells at the end of the quarter is the story of what you did during the prior couple of quarters—maybe even the prior year. It might be the story of a salesperson that worked to make their number, taking action long before it was necessary. Or it might tell the story of someone who took a quarter off waiting for deals to come to them.

You are the hero in your story your numbers tell. The story your numbers tell provides you with a picture of your beliefs and your actions. Your numbers tell the story of where you are challenged, and where you are succeeding. They also tell you what you need to do more of and what you need to change. But this is only true if you let the numbers tell you your story.

Questions

What stories do your numbers tell?

What is the underlying belief that leads to your numbers?

What actions result in your numbers telling these particular stories?

Why is the story that you tell about your numbers a different story than someone else might tell about your numbers?


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