Improve Activity or Increase Effectiveness

Let’s say your sales results are off by 50 percent. You are literally producing half of your number. There are a few things you can do to improve your results and close the gap.

First, you can double your activity. You can do twice as much work, which for many people may be exactly what is necessary.

Second, you can double your effectiveness. You can double the size of the opportunities and double your win rates. This recipe will also produce an improvement, and it may also be a good choice.

The first choice begins with an assumption that sales is strictly a numbers game. In this view, there is nothing but activity. More activity leads to more opportunities leads to more wins, and there is no reason to do anything except double up your prospecting efforts, which, again, may not be a bad idea for those who do too little to create the results they need.

Choosing only to increase activity leaves out too many other factors to make it the only thing that one might do—or should do—to improve their sales results.

The second choice begins with a different assumption than the idea that activity is the only thing necessary to producing results. Instead, this view is biased toward improving the effectiveness of the sales force or salespeople who are struggling. The training, development, and coaching that increase one’s ability to target their dream clients and create bigger opportunities isn’t easy to provide and it doesn’t produce results as fast as one might hope. But the upside of working on effectiveness is that it also improves win rates, and a higher percentage of wins against bigger opportunities improves results exponentially, almost invariably more than activity alone.

The truth of the matter is that some people need more activity to produce the better results they need. Others need to improve their effectiveness to close the gap between their results now and the results they need, especially if they already have good activity.

Some, however, need to improve their activity while they work on their effectiveness. The increased activity solves the problem that is low activity, and the additional reps provide them with the opportunity to practice the new mindsets and skills that will—eventually—lead to greater effectiveness.

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