I grew up in a world of measurement.
Activity reports. Dials. Connects. Appointments. Conversions. Revenue.
Every aspect of the process tracked, recorded and reported. The impact and outcome of any and every communication intended to yield conversion analyzed. Individual contributor contribution benchmarking reports made available to everyone else. A public review of both production and progress.
Sales is a numbers game. The sales pro knows his or her numbers cold. They can quickly relay peak activity periods. A process map. They know exactly when to increase call volume or hit send. Closers spend more time on high yield/outcome activity (conversely many salespeople who struggle are mired in a myriad of low yield, non essential activity & administration).
I love the performance oriented nature of professional sales. It drives the business. The competition. The quota. The plan. You either make it or you don’t. Results or excuses. Black and white.
Except it never really was so black and white. You want to measure what matters. Except so many things mattered we didn’t measure. The data set drives decisions. As it should. But so often it doesn’t tell the whole story.
We couldn’t quite get our arms around likability. Influence. Trust. Confidence. Commitment. Loyalty. So those drivers don’t make their way on to the scorecard.
Most companies don’t connect the dots between a customer that is happy to do business with you and one that evangelizes your work to anyone and everyone they know. One who wants to help. One who is really invested in your success and happiness. One who becomes a fan of the business.
That gap is usually about a relationship. An emotional connection. Someone who cares. So often not captured in the reporting cycle. Yet, so essential to success.
I also see this trend in the other business functions. HR. Management. The conversation at every conference I attend around metrics. The notion you cannot improve what you don’t measure. The science does matter and the numbers don’t lie. I also suppose, on some level, we all do have a need to validate our value.
While the science matters, so does the art. The human element.
Work is an emotional experience. Some of the most influential drivers toward the measured result may not find their way on to the scorecard.
The delicate balance between the art and the science.