Not Sales, Only Commentary

You find success in sales in only two things: opportunity creation and opportunity capture. Everything else is just commentary on these two outcomes.

Commentary on Creation

When one asks you about your activity, the person asking is most likely inquiring about how well you are doing at creating new opportunities. The conversation is a commentary on opportunity creation.

Territory and account planning processes are all commentary on how you are going to pursue the creation of new opportunities, some from new clients, and others from within your existing clients. Many of the reports and dashboards generated by your CRM were designed to give information about the new opportunities you are creating, another form of commentary.

Commentary on Capture

Much of the time that salespeople, sales managers, and sales leaders spend talking about deals is commentary, their opinions or explanations about how effectively they are pursuing those opportunities.

Almost all the time spent on strategy, pursuit plans, differentiation, or competitive analysis is also a commentary on opportunity capture, or how you intend to win. The reports generated at the end of the quarter, the win/loss reviews, and the actual results you produce are an autopsy, all of which is commentary.

Commentary on One of the Other

The emails in your inbox are about opportunity creation, opportunity capture, or commentary around these two outcomes—or they are entirely unrelated. Your weekly sales meetings are about one or both of two primary outcomes for which you are responsible—or they unrelated to better results. While these things are necessary, they are not enough to produce better sales results.

All of which to say is that if there are only two things necessary for success in sales, creating new opportunities and winning them, then those two things should dominate your time, your energy, and your attention. If you are in sales, your calendar should be governed by these two outcomes. If you are a sales manager or a sales leader, you should work to reduce unnecessary commentary on sales to free up time for creation and capture, while ensuring that the necessary discourse that surrounds this work also contributes to improving these two outcomes.

In a world of infinite distractions and an overwhelming amount of incoming information—and requests for even more information—narrowing your focus to the very few things that produce all the results is what is necessary for success.

Filed under: Sales Growth

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