How to Climb Up the Stack Ranking

Maybe you are in the bottom half of your company’s stack ranking and want to find your way into the upper half. Or you might find yourself in the top eleven percent and want to break into the top of the list. If it is time for you to make your move, here’s what you’ll need to do to start climbing.

What Got You Here

There is an old saying that “what got you here won’t get you there.” Let me offer a couple corollaries.

First, what got you here is likely to keep you here. If your current tactics were able to propel you up the list, you’d likely already be where you wanted. Your scoreboard may not account for your circumstances, your wishes, or your desires, but it never lies: it simply reflects your results.

Only you know the details, but I’d venture to guess that your behavioral patterns (your habits) are slowing down your progress. You are going to have to take your foot off the brake if you want to accelerate your results.

Second, a whole lot more of what got you here may get you a whole lot farther. A person who is at the fifty-percent mark on their stack ranking has done half of what it takes to be in the top spot. Moving from the median to the top means doubling your effectiveness. That may (okay, it probably does) mean more activity, but what it really requires is increasing the positive outcomes that would move you forward from where you are now.

image of stairs going upward with an arrow pointing forward

Non-contributing Activity

There are two things you should obsess over: the things that will prevent you from improving your results, and the outcomes you need to create to ignite your turbo boosters.

Several behavioral patterns will prevent you from increasing your results. Maybe you waste too much time on the endless distractions and mouse-driven excursions that have nothing to do with your work or your goals. Time is a perishable commodity; you cannot recover it once it is lost. It’s likely that you also waste time on things that look like work but make no contribution to your overall results.

If you never mute your email inbox, your Slack or Yammer, or some other invitation to interrupt you, then what got you here is going to keep you here. You are going to have to eliminate the non-contributing activities and fully commit to yourself and your goals.

Contributing Activities

Boosting your sales ranking is straightforward: all you have to do is sell more than you are selling now. Top-ranked salespeople create more new opportunities than those who follow them on the list, they win the deals they need to move up the list, and they often win much larger deals. Use these three targets to guide your own efforts.

Create More Opportunities: Take all the time you spend on non-contributing activities and shift it to contributing activities, like prospecting (using the telephone) to get new meetings with your prospects, scheduling meetings with your existing clients who have additional needs, and spending more time on creating new opportunities. If you doubled the number of opportunities you created, would that not improve your chances of moving up?

image of business woman looking at many open doors

Win More Deals: One of the problems with believing that sales is a job and not a craft is that it lets people with “sales” on their business cards think that they don’t need to improve their art. Few professional roles depend more on your character traits, your behavioral patterns, and your competencies to succeed. Your personal and professional development is at the core of your ability to improve your results.

You are going to have to improve your sales approach to improve your overall win rate. That means shoring up your infirmities: what got you here will not get you there.

Winning Larger Deals: There are a lot of people who care more about velocity, the time it takes to create and win an opportunity. While velocity is important, it’s a difficult variable to control (and I literally wrote the book on controlling velocity). For my money, deal size is every bit as important as velocity, and maybe a bit more.

Bigger deals make a greater contribution to your overall goal, and it would be a surprise to find a top performer who doesn’t also land larger deals than lower-ranked colleagues.

Whatever the number, your ranking tells you what your effort and approach provided in the way of results. Only you know what you need to stop doing—but start by listing all the busywork that makes no contribution to your results. You also know what you need to do more of to improve your results, and what character traits and competencies you need to increase in order to be more effective.

Filed under: Sales

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