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Don’t Get Distracted by the Numbers

By: Dave Brock


As sales professionals, we’re obsessed with the “numbers.” Where are we year to date, what’s the forecast, what’s the pipeline look like, what are the activity levels, how many qualified leads do we have, and on and on and on.

We’re constantly measuring, tweaking, analyzing, measuring. We look at numbers from all type of views—increasingly we leverage analytics to give us different perspectives and insights to the numbers.

There’s no doubt, numbers are important.

But all they are is numbers. The numbers help us identify issues, opportunities and problems. They are yardsticks to measure performance. Numbers don’t solve problems or improve performance. They make us aware of potential problems, but nothing happens until we do something about the problems we want to solve.

As crazy as it seems, too many organizations spend too much time focusing on the numbers and doing to little about fixing them. That is, identifying what needs to be done, developing a plan to achieve the goal, and execution!

Sometimes, organizations take comfort in hiding behind discussions about performance and the numbers. It’s much easier to talk about them than to do something about them.

When your number indicate you have a performance problem, how quickly do you identify the central issues and corrective actions?

Once you’ve done this, how quickly do you actually start executing your plan?

Do you monitor the performance, correcting course to achieve results (Hmmm—we’re back to the numbers again.)?

What percent of your time (and the organization’s time) do you spend monitoring and talking about the numbers versus doing something about them?

Numbers are important, but they aren’t what enables us to achieve our numbers. They’re the signposts on the way, but it’s what we do that counts.

This article was originally published by Partners in Excellence

Published: August 13, 2014

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Dave Brock

Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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