Change Leadership Secret – 104 – Focus on the Method, Not the Effort

Change Leadership — Secret # 104
Focus on the Method, Not the Effort

Never mistake motion for action.
—Ernest Hemingway

What I Need to Know

We all have pressures that make us desperately want to grow our business. When looking for ways to grow our revenue, it is tempting to measure the activities of salespeople. But it’s far more important to measure their strategies.

For example, I once was brought in to run a sales organization in a company that sold multimillion-dollar supercomputers for which there was a market of about ten very large companies with names such as Intel. One of the first things I did was ask my salespeople to show me their account plans. They said they did not have any account plans. The previous vice president of sales had told them, “It’s a numbers game. I want you making five cold calls per day.” Who else besides those ten large companies did he think was going to buy a supercomputer? Did he really believe the salespeople could dial random people in the phone directory and find someone who would answer the phone and say, “Sure, I could totally use a supercomputer for my business, right now. That would be like, totally radical, dude! Charge it to my Amex.” It was a lot easier for that sales executive to measure sales activity than the quality and soundness of the sales strategy.

The reality is, it is always easier to measure activity than strategy. Developing and practicing sales methods and strategies are not easy endeavors. But, they have a far larger influence on success than sheer effort.

Effort is really important—if you have a winning strategy and a winning action plan.

What I Need to Do

Rather than focusing on measuring effort, use these tactics to grow your sales:

  • Hire motivated people and keep them motivated with appropriate incentives.
  • Measure the effectiveness of strategies and the efficiency of tactics.
  • Develop a robust set of qualification criteria and critical success factors for determining customers’ readiness and willingness to purchase and use your offering.
  • Allocate your resources to the customers who score the highest on qualification criteria and critical success factors.
  • Build an organization to deliver high value and measure value-delivery activity, rather than prospecting activity.
  • Commit yourself and your organization to the continuous study and improvement of these tactics.

Action Summary

  • Effort without strategy is like wind without a sail.
  • Effort is easy. Strategy is hard. Focus on the strategy first, execution second.
  • Focus on delivering value, rather than looking for it. But even then focus on the method, not the effort.
Change Leadership Secret - 104 Focus on the Method, Not the Effort
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About Brett Clay

Clay is the author of “Selling Change,” named the best business book and best sales book of 2010, and is the CEO of Change Leadership Group, LLC, a firm that helps clients improve their sales, marketing, and leadership capabilities. A veteran of 20 years in international sales and marketing management, most recently with Microsoft Corporation, he is an award-winning author, award-winning marketer, trainer, speaker, consultant, and business leader.

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