The world of sales is complicated and noisy. Customers demand competitors attack, leaders preach and pundits natter.
Too many people “splash and spray” too many messages and demands us through too many channels; this relentless and constant bombardment is distracting and often gets in the way of us performing the way the organization expects.
Critical to sales success is the ability to cut through the message clutter and focus on the few things that drive the majority of expected results.
Try these 4 steps to bring your priorities into focus…
- Gain a detailed understanding of precisely what you need to do to succeed. If the end game in your mind lacks clarity it is impossible to know what you must work on to achieve progress. Establish a clear “line of sight” between the organization’s strategic goals and what you have to achieve. This clarity will render the clutter around you to white noise status.
I find that many salespeople don’t understand the strategy of the organization insufficient granularity. They aren’t able to relate what they should be doing to the bigger picture and are therefore swept up in the activity trap of trying many things they THINK should be done and achieving hit-and-miss success.
Study your organization’s strategy; be an expert on it.
- Translate the organization’s strategic goals into your personal sales plan. Define what specific results you must deliver and what you need to differentiate in your sales role. Review with leadership and get their buy-in.
- Avoid brainstorming as a way to determine your priorities. It’s ok to create a list of possibilities that you feel should be undertaken, but if you don’t apply a strict prioritization discipline with strategic goals as the context, and screen the list to the critical few, you will be constantly chasing things in a reactive mode and will never know if you are making progress.
It’s not about having a To-Do List with 20 items on it. Busyness is never successful without strategic purpose. It’s a guaranteed way to fail. Busyness might make you feel good and that you are achieving meaningful results, but it’s an illusion.
Furthermore, multitasking is doomed to fail. It’s virtually impossible to do many things well; you simply don’t have enough bandwidth. A limited time resource and many projects to work on means that each project receives minimal attention and nothing gets done.
Inventory what you are currently doing and cut the crap that is not critical to your end game. Your To-Don’t List should be long.
- Beware of the “yummy incoming”, the over-the-transom demands of your time that can distract you from your critical few priorities. Yummy is tempting to respond to because it represents “comfy food”; it delivers personal satisfaction from working on it and it’s fun.
The problem is that yummy feeds busyness and the chasing phenomena; chasing-this and chasing-that without purpose. Sales productivity = 0.
Not succumbing to the barrage of distractions that we all face requires discipline, without which we will forever be chasing the wind.
And achieving nothing.