You can’t change the past, no more than you can push toothpaste back into the tube. Yet in business we seem to spend most of our time focussing on results which, by their nature, are historical and backward looking. What did we do last year, last month, last week, last whatever!
Given that you can’t change the past, unless you’ve got a time machine like Dr Who, doesn’t it all seem a bit futile focussing on it? Yes of course we can learn from the past but spending a lot of time focussing on it, and sweating over our results, seems a bit daft really.
So where do we focus? We can’t change the past but we can influence the future through the activity we put in today, tomorrow and the rest of the year. Learn from your results, but focus on proactive, future-oriented activity.
We see a lot of salespeople reactively going after whatever is in front of them, without putting very much strategic thought behind what they’re doing. Give some thought to:
- What do our ideal customers look like?
- How will we meet them?
Your sales activities should be based around the answers to these 2 questions.
Yes, getting inbound leads is great and makes life much easier for you, but with inbound leads you get what you get and these may or may not be your ideal customers. More likely not in our experience.
So why should we care?
Put simply, if you’re completing random activity that isn’t in line with your strategy, your business won’t be growing as quickly as it should be and it may not be growing at all!
So what should you do?
Commit to sales activity in line with your strategic sales plan (if you haven’t got one of those, develop one quickly!) in response to the 2 questions above to ensure you generate a consistent flow of your ideal customer.
Monitor your own, and your team’s, success in gaining these customers. If your activity isn’t taking you where you want to go, review it in terms of what’s working well and what you might need to do differently.
If you’re a sales manager you need to hold your salespeople accountable for this activity and make sure it’s in line with your strategic plan. If you’re a one-person band you need to hold yourself accountable.
You can have the best products in the world but if you haven’t got any customers you won’t have a business.
It’s all about activity!