Sales is a Lagging Indicator

Sales is a lagging indicator. That means a lot of things happen before sales hits or misses a number. Unfortunately some leaders look at sales as if it exists in isolation and should be able to grow, maneuver and execute in a vacuum.

There are many things that impact sales performance well before a sales person enters the negotiation phase or even picks up the phone. Some key ones to think about are:

  • Is my product the right fit for my target customer
  • Am I clear on who my target customer is
  • Would my target customer recommend my product to a friend
  • Are my target customers aware of my brand
  • If prospects research my brand, what perception do they attain
  • How does my sales process support my ideal customer experience
  • Is the market we are competing in lucrative and/or competitive
  • Are my competitors strategically better positioned

If there is a negative gut response to any of the questions above, then that should become the focal point of none sales leaders and not hitting higher numbers.

Certainly we can look at activity, sales cycle, close rates and retention. We have to in regards to sales performance, but let your sales leader focus on this. Everyone else needs to make sure the product, targeting, brand and messaging is perfected to positively influence sales performance. Otherwise we could be looking at a symptom vs the root of a problem.

In our hyper-growth starved, venture capital backed startup economy, we can most certainly hire a sales team and attempt to scale the business to new heights. Set goals like, let’s IPO in two years!! However, most times it is better to get back to basics and basically listen to our customers.

That’s a different story. One more focused on #customerobsession than #customeracquisition. As startup leaders, let’s reframe our thinking to the former and it will truly empower and fuel the later.


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