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Is Being Super Busy the Barometer for Success?

Is Being Super Busy the Barometer for Success? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitude

Is Being Super Busy the Barometer for Success? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeWhat is your barometer for success? In a recent client coaching session, the sales team I was talking to said to me, “I must be doing OK because I have more work than I can handle.”

Anyone who knows me well would expect me to cringe the moment I’d hear this response. Why? Because being busy is not the barometer for success. For sales, it’s all about working the right deals, at the right time and nurturing others who are farther down the line.

A Pipeline Built in Fantasy Land

This all-too-common story starts well, but does not have a very positive ending:

You are doing a great job. You are so busy you can hardly see your friends and family. You’re traveling, attending tons of meetings, completing lots of tasks. You are filling your pipeline with deals and when you meet with your sales manager, they are happy to see your pipeline being 5X quota. Wow! You are rocking it.

But then, the first quarter ends, and the deals that you forecasted do not close. You take whatever is in your Q1 pipeline and move things to Q2. Why? Well, if it did not close in Q1, then it should close in Q2. You’re thinking that your company needs this deal and you promised it would close, so you have to deliver. Fast forward, and the same thing happens again. You do end up closing a small deal. You’re still super busy.

Unfortunately, you do not make your quarterly numbers and fall short on quota.

The Road to Real Success

I am sure many of you have heard that story before. So, how do you correct it? First and foremost, you must realize that just being busy is not the barometer for success, and it certainly does not mean you will hit or exceed your quota. Instead, you will need to:

  • Assess the deals in your pipeline to determine if your pipeline is aligned to your customer’s priorities and timeframes
  • Determine if you are at the right level in the account where they can clearly state the specific business outcome they are trying to achieve and when
  • Ensure that you continually review the timeline with your customer/prospect for two key reasons:
    • To make sure their executives are engaged along the buying process
    • To verify that you fully understand their needs and priorities, and fill in any gaps in your knowledge, so you can clearly state what they are trying to accomplish and when
  • Remove deals from your pipeline when you cannot obtain executive engagement. At a minimum, gain understanding of their timing and priorities, and then adjust your pipeline to their dates – not your quarter end dates
  • Have regular meetings with your sales manager to have them help guide you to success

Then What Is the Barometer for Success?

Being busy is not a barometer for success. It’s a numbers game, and throwing things at the wall hoping something sticks is not a strategy that typically pays off consistently – or at all. Focus on quality, not quantity. Fill your pipeline with quality deals – where your pipeline is aligned with where your customer or prospect is spending their time, money and resources. That’s a game plan that has legs.


Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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