Solving The Selling Productivity Puzzle

An issue vexing British economists right now is how come UK employment is rising, with growth chugging along, yet productivity is falling.

Heavens above, even the extended-lunch-wine-drinking, cinq à sept obsessed, public sector-dominated French exhibit higher productivity than the Brits.

Possible explanations fail to convince; Firms’ hoarding labour, out of sentiment or desire to keep hold of talent regardless. Wages remaining stubbornly flat remove incentives. The largest trading partner (the Eurozone) going backwards means less demand to sate. GDP estimate inaccuracy. The huge increase in the self-employed.

Termed the productivity puzzle, it raises the thorny conundrum of how to get the most out of what you’ve got.

Corporate salesteams will recognise the square peg, round hole jigsaws that are managerial spans of controls, territory splits and optimum pipeline size.

For individual salespeople, we’ve long known there are only so many hours in the day. Yet when has solely working more hours bought in more sales for any of us?

One key seems to lie in what the economists call reallocation of resources.

That is, after a shock, capital and labour take a while to shift from declining sectors to booming ones.

And here in sits a Sales steer.

When times are sluggish, most salespeople chase anything. Absolutely every deal with only (or hardly) the remotest whiff of an opportunity gets latched on to. Desperate attempts to fatten the funnel and fill out the forecast gratefully received.

Yet this is not the answer to hitting target.

In such climes, I believe we must be even more choosy than normal about who we honour with a line on our forecast.

More stringent qualification. Tougher adherence to ideal customer profile. Any bid veering off-process jettisoned.

You must have a feel for where is booming, what is declining. Whether through the viewpoint of your product, client sector, or any other attribute.

Ditch all touched by down arrows, a stagnant smell or flat lines. Focus all your time and energy only where the upward trajectory can be seen.

You could even conduct a cheeky sanity test on your pipeline. Simply label each deal with Boom or Decline. Determined by whether they’re involving a product, industry, project or any environmental factors that stand firmly in either camp.

…remind me, why you working on those Decliners?

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