I am promoting sales on a big canvas, but in a place that values tiny pixels.

It dawned on me yesterday that my sales organization is led by former Aerotek and Robert Half AEs, where data analysis and quantity of numbers is the strategy, not actual thoughtful strategy.  

This came to light when I was telling our VP about our expanding circle of influence within some accounts but he bypassed that to focus specificly on the number of opps we’d opened the previous month, which was down 10%.  For me, I don’t care about opps – I care about realistic and strategic business I am working to close, since that is what will determine my success not next week, but 6 months from now.  But to the leaders of our companies, 9 opps opened instead of 10 means the health of my busines is dropping  – the story behind each of the opps is irrelevant.

I like my AEs to have a good Information Gathering meeting with a high-ranking Decision Maker at a large company with budget, then to run with that meeting by following up on hints/leads and obsessing about growing that opportunity.  Whether that takes 50 calls per day or 10 meetings a week  is irrelevant to me – what is more important is that the AE has the information, a bulleted plan from that information, is executing on that plan, and that my instincts tell me they are doing (and not just saying they are doing) the right things.  He/she having 2 meetings with the same mid-level managers they’ve met 100 times before and putting two leads from those meetings in the system isn’t worth a dime to me — unless I believe it is truly a step towards something bigger. 

Although my current Sales Leaders want strategic and immediate growth, they are struggling to get  out of the day to day statistical analysis – because they all were trained in a place that valued dials and tactics.  It is why they aren’t growing, and why there are a number of teams that are meeting their KPIs but not driving sustainable growth.

It is concerning.  Largely because I know it will be hard to build a sustainable business if I am not allowed to operate outside the obsession over the day-to-day metrics rather than keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

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I am promoting sales on a big canvas, but in a place that values tiny pixels.

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