All businesses have a keen eye for their sales results, and why wouldn’t they? Our livelihoods depend on how successful we are. Sales results show how well you’re tracking and how much money you can expect to make. But such an intense focus on sales results can often see people thinking back-to-front, and missing some important insights into their business. Managing by numbers can mean that the business owner neglects to see the actions that are delivering the results.
If sales are down, we talk to the salesperson or manager to ask why. If sales are up, we clap with delight and forget to consider the true reasons behind the success. What are the vital activities that produce these outcomes in the first place? What are your sales inputs?
Every outcome is a result of input: cause and effect. Have you properly considered your inputs so you can manipulate the outcome or at least pinpoint where you are going right and where you could improve and further strengthen those good results?
Let’s revert back to the happy days when sales are good. Do you know how your salespeople achieved these results and do you know how well they are identifying real opportunities with their prospective clients and current accounts? If not, you have a really valuable opportunity to find out.
Looking at the inputs, you can then consider whether improvements can be made to planning and managing client portfolios and time. You will also be able to see how your salespeople can be trained and even pinpoint new opportunities to offer clients. Such a simple question can lead to some really positive changes for your business and, of course, better sales and figures.
At Barrett, we train and coach many business leaders, salespeople, and sales managers in ‘Quality of Activity’ and ‘Quantity of Activity’. When observed, these input measures for your business are guaranteed to improve sales results.
This exercise is often neglected or ‘put off by sales managers and business owners because it appears to take time. But excellence is in the details and if you take just a small amount of time to consider your sales inputs you will surprise yourself at how worthwhile it will be to your bottom line. Your business’s overall sales, sales revenue, profitability, sales growth, average deal size, and market share will all improve.
Results are important and need to be acknowledged but they can only be as good as the inputs. Once we understand the input measures then we can see their effect on the results or output measures.
Sue Barrett is an experienced business speaker and adviser, facilitator, sales coach, training provider, entrepreneur, and founder of Barrett Consulting.