Want to Improve Sales Performance? Just Stop Doing This…

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We all want things to be easy—or at the very least easier. Here’s the thing though, the longer you’ve been at something, the more complicated and time-consuming it becomes.

Think about the last time you started something new. Perhaps it was a hobby, or perhaps it was your promotion to Sales Manager. You likely started with a nice simple formula.

As time went by, you took on more tasks: You probably bought more things to help you get the job done: And you added more steps and more objectives. The common theme here is “more.” “More” always complicates things.

Want to improve sales performance? Stop doing “more.”

Make it a goal to un-complicate your daily processes. Take a close look at where you’re spending time and energy. Then pledge to do two things; stay focused on what matters most and always come back to the basics.

The inspiration for writing this post came to me when I read chapter 3 from Mike Weinberg’s new book “Sales Management Simplified.” The chapter is called, “You can’t effectively run a sales team when you’re buried in crap.”

Some of the crap comes from front-line managers’ ourselves (by the propensity to complicate things over time). Other crap, however, gets heaped on you by senior executives who divert and distract sales managers from their most important job: driving revenue.

What are those distractions? Take a look at everything on your calendar for the past month and make note of anything that isn’t; exhibiting or developing leadership and culture, finding and building talent, or sales process oriented. Every item on the list you just created could be considered a distraction.

Not that those distractions aren’t themselves important activities, but they aren’t value-added activities. In lean manufacturing, non-value-added activities are considered “MUDA” a Japanese term for wasted effort. There are seven types of MUDA and you could put them all in the “doing more” category .

  1. Over-processing: Doing more than is necessary
  2. Waiting: Time lost waiting for another person or process
  3. Over-production: producing more than is necessary
  4. Re-work: Poor initial quality or through-put (resulting in more work than is necessary)
  5. Motion: Unnecessary movement during a process or activity (think manual roll-up of forecasts)
  6. Inventory: Having too much or too little (think “just right” or just-in-time)
  7. Transportation: Unnecessary movement of materials or supplies (think contract approval processes)

What each of these have in common is the notion of too much. What you want is “just right.”

You have limited time, focus, attention, and energy. It’s not difficult to be busy 24-7. What is difficult, yet essential to improving sales performance, is to simplify. Set your goals not just around what you want to accomplish but what you refuse to spend time doing. Insist that technology serve you rather than the other way around.

Is the technology you currently use truly making your life easier so that you can start doing more revenue driven activities and stop doing less of everything else? Or, does the technology you use over-complicate things and cause you to spend way more time than you had hoped or planned?

To stop doing “more” requires an unwavering focus and commitment to doing the right things. And it just so happens that the right things are laid out for you in Mike Weinberg’s new book.

Coincidentally, Mike and I, along with Donal Daly of The TAS Group, and David Brierley of Pyramid Analytics will share more secrets to maximizing sales performance. You can register for the free VentureBeat Webinar here. It’s taking place on this Thursday December 3rd.

It’s ok to say “no” to too much, as long as you nail doing the right things.

About the author

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin is a recognized thought leader on sales technologies and building a sales stack. Smart Selling Tools reviews the latest sales and marketing software across multiple categories, including Inside Sales, Sales Intelligence, Sales Acceleration, Pipeline Management & Deal Flow, and Predictive Sales Analytics. It's been named a Top Sales Blog by HubSpot, and Nancy Nardin has been named alongside Forbes’ top 30 social sales influencers in the world. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools