As sales professionals we often measure activity. How many calls did I make today? How many emails were sent? How many customers did I see? Some have even gone as far as to use miles flown in air travel as a barometer of accomplishment. Activity, activity, activity… but to what effect?
If we get tired of measuring activity, we can measure trends and outcomes like margin, revenue growth, price retention, discount rate and sales cycle. Do these measures have their benefits and play a role in our success? They do. But it is important to remember that these activities typically do not bring value to the customer… and value is how our customers measure our success.
Activity and measurements do not equal success, just as the length of the skis won’t dictate the speed of the skier or ensure victory in the downhill race. No one has ever selected a television based on its weight or the efficiency with which it was manufactured. The clarity of its picture is all that matters to the consumer, because that is what the consumer values.
It takes a lot of courage and initiative to stop being a slave to measurements and rote activities, and invest the time and energy necessary to develop insights and expertise that create true value for our customers. Insights cannot be measured (immediately), but their impact is undeniable.
The truth is we all find some level of comfort in busy activities because they aren’t nearly as difficult as delivering authentic value. Unfortunately, the business world is full of busy fools. It’s the rare sales professional with original insight who enjoys preferred position with his/her customers.