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%|
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!”