Activity does not equal productivity. Why not? Because most sales activities don’t drive a deal to close. 

Activity is anything from making a sales call to entering data into the CRM. You might be surprised to find that your most “active” salespeople are not your most productive. How much of their activity results in revenue? 

What you need to measure is productivity. If you measure productivity, you find ways to close more deals faster.

Is This Your Organization?

You ask your salespeople why they haven’t made quota. The salespeople know the quota is unachievable, but they feel forced to chase every prospect to meet it. That causes them to sell a solution that doesn’t align with the prospect’s RFP. 

Or maybe you look at all the reports your CRM generates and see lots of activity but no sales. You don’t understand why things aren’t getting better.

Perhaps you have reduced sales support and customer service because of falling revenue, creating another obstacle for sales to overcome. 

If you have a team not meeting quota it might be time to ask the question, “What’s gone wrong?” 

Let’s look at the critical sales issues that might be the source of your disappointing sales productivity.

Overcome Your Critical Sales Issues

Too many sales activities are a waste of resources — resources that could go toward productive sales work. What are some of those critical issues?

  • Many sales calls are initiated by a prospect, often with an RFP or RFI. Customers are fishing for a fit and the sales team only gets involved in answering questions from non-decision makers. The customer drives the cycle, and you never win.
  • You allow hot prospects to disrupt your R&D priorities. Sales is constantly barging in, changing R&D’s priorities and pushing them to work on the next new thing. Product releases are missed resulting in loss of credibility, lower employee morale, and more lost deals that could have been won.
  • CRMs automate collecting data and excel at generating reports made up of the data your salespeople spend hours entering into the system. Managers assume that a report showing lots of activity means the organization will make lots of sales. 

Generating leads by RFP means you never get a chance to qualify the opportunity and are typically blocked from meeting Power (the person who can buy even without a budget). You feel you must expend every resource to answer the RFP or RFI, no matter how unlikely it is for you to win the business. 

Chasing an unqualified lead and entering information about all the activity to track that opportunity is not productive.

Putting Quantity Ahead of Quality Yields Abysmal ROI

If you measure activity, your sales teams will feel pushed to focus on the activity level they think you expect. However, your expectations are driving the organization in the wrong direction. 

Salespeople are so busy being active they have little time to work deals that should be won. Your resources are scattered across a diffuse range instead of homing in on a target. 

If measuring activity makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere, but no sale comes of it, isn’t that a wasted effort?

Counting all those little activities may be a great way to justify your CRM system, but it won’t tell you how successful you are at closing the prospects the team is pursuing. Not unless you measure the right opportunities. 

Before you start your pursuit, a better way is to predict prospects that will turn into revenue by evaluating each prospect against your Zebra profile. Compare prospects against your perfect prospect and the prospects you closed in the past, and you ensure your sales team becomes not active but productive. 

In the next post, we show you how to increase sales by finding and selling to Power.


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