Know Your Stats

I was reminded of something quite essential yesterday when meeting a potential new prospect for the first time.   Although a difficult chap to generate any bonhomie and genuine rapport with, one insight he did offer was what he expects of his team.

During the twelve years he’d worked in and managed photocopier sales people, he worked out what activity needs to be hit to make your targets crumble.

He reckoned that 250 dials each week were necessary to create 5 new business opportunity appointments.  1 in 16 dials generated a contact, which meant roughly 1 in 3 of those contacted would see them.

The point of this, is that if you know your own hit-rates, I believe you’re more likely to improve your results.  The old adage of ‘only if it’s measured, can it be improved’ stems back from the 50s obsession with Statisical Process Control, and often cited as the Deming-inspired ethos behind Japan’s rise to economic prowess.

Interestingly, I was once in a large sales conference with almost a hundred sales guys at Cheltenham Race Course for an IT security operation, and a fella there subsequently became a good pal of mine, a highly talented and worldy-wise guy called Brendan Gillies.  The (politically, if not salesy, astute) VP of Sales asked who knew what their average order value and average sales cycle time was.  Only Brendan stuck up his hand.  And he was Number One.

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