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Beyond Growth Inc. | Markham, ON

By Tim Rooney

One often hears the refrain that “success in sales is a numbers game.”

Is this true or false? Where’s the evidence to prove this theory?

Let’s look at the chart below – which provides some quiet strong proof to support the theory that selling IS a numbers game.

We see that the top 7% of sales people spend 75% of their time allocated to either selling [20%] or prospecting [50%].

In contrast – their less successful counterparts had a combined total of  only 25% – [15% selling and 10% prospecting].

  Typical Sales Person Top 7%
Selling 15% 20%
Administration 20% 5%
Account Management 55% 25%
Prospecting 10% 50%

Is there a message in these numbers?

Yes there is – first of all – get as much admin work off the shoulders of sales people as possible – that potentially goes a long way to fixing the problem – a full 15% in fact.

The other big difference here is in the time spent “farming” existing accounts – a difference of a full 30%.

What’s the problem here or is it in fact not a problem?

It could be a  “head trash” or a call reluctance problem  - after all its typically 5 times harder “hunting “ for new business than it is – “farming” an existing account.

We don’t know if that’s the case, however, as it maybe, that strategically, the sales person’s time is best spent going “deep and wide” with existing accounts – as opposed to hunting less uncertain “treasures” with new accounts.

The last thing I don’t like about the simplistic view is that numbers are just that – numbers. Are you better off making 5 quality calls and having a good conversation as opposed to 60 “drive by shooting” cold calls?

No simplistic answers– each case must be judged on its merits – based on tracking your metrics over a  sustained period of time.

Once again – the only thing we can say with certainty is that – “The only way to fail at prospecting is to fail to prospect!”

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