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How much of Sales is JUST DOING IT?

You can talk about it all day, but how much of sales is just getting up and doing it? You can spend all the time in the world designing a great product and great information about it, but it isn’t going to sell until you actually get up and sell it.

This summer we were launching a new product (a service actually) and we were talking about sales a lot. We even had two people “doing sales”, but not a lot was really cooking, so to speak. I wanted to know what was really in the pipeline, so I asked.

I got out the famous dry erase pen, cleared an area on the board and called them in. Who are the prospects? Really, who are they? We listed them. I sorted them by probability. We added prospect value. And then we got serious.

They were in black and white. Or rather blue, green and white. Having them there made more of a difference than I expected. I’m not typically in charge of sales in an organization, but I can say that I consider every single person in a company to be in sales. And in the future, I will make sure that the prospect list is prominent. This is especially important as we are considering both a distributed company AND sales driven by the owners. A slice of every day will be spent on sales, and this list will be maintained.

In a previous life (or so it seems now) I was running IT for a eVineyard ( and we had been told by our CEO (he had promised a prospective investor) that we would meet a daily revenue goal by a certain day. The thing is that no one was paying attention to how we were going to get there. We had built some tools to track sales in real time, we had even devised a simple system to guestimate likely sales for a day based upon sales to that point, but NO ONE was tracking sales vs that target revenue goal.

I was running IT and I was very young. Very young! I had hired a friend, Greg Zuro, slightly older, more experienced and much smarter. He called a meeting (keep in mind, we were IT, not marketing, sales or even ops) and he asked how we were going to hit the target.

Well there were a lot of long silences, and no real answers. We reconvened the next day and we brainstormed, we came up with some great ideas for promotions. A few days of development and we had one or two of them in place. They weren’t all great, and they definitely weren’t perfect on day one. We were learning on the job, along with the rest of the industry. Most importantly, we met daily as a team and we hit that target.

I’d love to say that we all made millions. Or at least I wish a few of us had made millions. The truth is though that it was just one of the many lessons I learned at eVineyard/ I also learned that once you accept huge investors, they want huge returns, but THAT is another story altogether.

Today’s thought though, is simple. Track your pipeline. Meet often. Don’t be stubborn at the wrong time. If something works tweak it, if something doesn’t change it!

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