Counting What Is Easily Counted

Some people love to count things. They believe that numbers are important. They want to quantify everything that they can, hoping to derive insights from their counting.

Counting and Counting

Some sales organizations count everything.

They count the number of phone calls that each salesperson makes because they know that the increased activity cures poor activity every time it is tried. For the people who love to count, more calls are better than fewer, even if they are poorly made calls.

People who love counting also like to count face-to-face sales calls. More time in front of customers or prospects is better than less time. You’d have a tough time finding anyone who disagrees with this idea. But a bad salesperson can do more damage on more calls than they can fewer calls—even if they occasionally make a sale or two.

I’ve seen some organizations count email. They believe that each email represents a “touch,” or communication with their prospective clients. To the people who love counting, more emails sent means more “touches,” regardless if the recipients deleted the email because it was really spam.

Some people love to count the number of opportunities they have in their pipeline, the value of each opportunity, the number of stakeholders engaged in the process, and the total revenue forecasted to close in this quarter.

There is nothing wrong with counting any of these activities. They’re all useful. Except email, of course.

Counting What Counts

If you want to boil complex, B2B sales down to it’s essence, you might be served well with two KPIs.

The first is how many new opportunities you created within your dream clients, your highest valued prospects. Without opening and creating new opportunities, all the phone calls and emails were for naught. New opportunities count, as does the value of those opportunities.

The second KPI is individual opportunities moved from one stage to the next stage of your sales process. This isn’t exactly a count, but it is how those new opportunities become new clients. This is the outcome of all the interactions with clients and prospects. This really counts. It measures progress.

Different metrics provide different insights, many of them hugely valuable to the sales leader, sales manager, and salesperson. But things that are easily counted aren’t always the best indication about how well you are doing producing results.

Count, but make sure what you count counts.

Filed under: Sales Leadership, Sales Management

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