Sales is the least predictable area of business. Sometimes it feels like you are throwing stuff at the wall, knowing that some of it will work, but never knowing which part. If you are a black-and-white thinker, sales can be challenging. If you are wired to think if X, then Y, sales may drive you crazy. There’s no math equation for sales that is concrete. Sure, you can apply closing rates percentages to various stages, but they’re all just guesses.

The squishy logic of sales is difficult for structured thinkers to embrace. It’s not just the way their brains are wired. Unfortunately, if you are one of the structured thinkers, your natural biases may be hurting sales performance.

Our experience is that structured thinkers sometimes don’t take action when they should regarding sales initiatives. You always have to “buy” new sales. The unfortunate truth in sales is that first you spend the money, then you get the sales. It stinks, but it’s the only way that works.

When you’re wired to think if X then Y, the thought that you spend money for sure and perhaps get nothing in return can turn your stomach. Inevitably, this leads to sales initiatives being tabled in lieu of more measurable initiatives, and the potential sales those initiatives could yield going away.

There’s good news for structured thinkers – probability. Instead of focusing on the uncertainty of the outcome, focus on your best guess of the probability of the outcome. Now that you can run the math, the initiative either makes sense, or it doesn’t numerically. Feel free to put in a fudge factor for conservatism’s sake. This will potentially kill off some initiatives that perhaps you should do, but it will also satisfy your desire not to strike out.

As a final thought, be leery of seemingly easily measurable projects like lead generation. It’s easy to understand that more leads can lead to more sales, so you can determine the value of these leads. However, just because the math is simple doesn’t mean the math is correct. In lead generation projects, it is the oversimplifying of the math that leads to wasted effort and budget. All leads are not created equal, so assigning an equal value to all prospects can lead to bad math.

A very high percentage of outsourced lead generation projects fail for this reason. Lead generation company is focused on the quantity of leads because that’s what they’re paid to do. However, the company doesn’t need more leads; they need more quality prospects that are closable.

The best sales initiatives create permanent process improvement, leverage, or talent growth for your team. Focus on these instead of the quick hits and see the sales needle move.

Feel like you need more leads?