Beyond the Numbers

I managed a sales team once which ranged a variety of nationalities, personalities, and experience. However, management had one blanket policy for the entire team: make as many calls as possible, with everyone benchmarked according to the closer who made the most calls.

Generally, it’s a numbers game, and the one who makes the most calls usually makes the most sales. Our number one salesperson made around 280 calls a day and made the most sales. But our number two salesperson made only 20 calls a day, yet made almost as many sales as our number one person.

Obviously, I think this guy was a legend, but I kept having to defend him against management who classified him as lazy and not serious, despite being very successful. Of course, due to what I consider their limited outlook, they thought if he made as many calls as our number one person, he would make even more sales.

This was an assumption based on it all being a numbers game. But after speaking to this sales rep regularly, I learned that he had a good hand and was able to look at a lead and score them effectively. This, while the other salespeople were solely focused on making as many calls as possible without necessarily considering the quality of those calls. This difference in approach highlighted the importance of not just the quantity, but also the quality of interactions in sales.

Despite the pressure from management to conform to their approach, I continued to advocate for recognising and leveraging the unique strengths of each team member. It was clear that the success of our number two salesperson was not solely determined by the number of calls made, but by their ability to effectively identify and convert high-quality leads.

In the end, the results spoke for themselves, and I was able to persuade management to reconsider their approach and appreciate the diversity of talents within the team. This experience taught me the importance of adaptability and understanding individual strengths in leadership and team management.

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