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The scoreboard tells the tale. At the end of the game, the final score informs you of how you did. Did you make the number? Did you fail to make the number? Regardless, a measurement will be taken, and a new quarter will mark the beginning of a new game.

But the final measurement isn’t taken until the end of the game. Why then so much focus on the scoreboard? Instead, you should now be focused on playing the game well.

This Isn’t Math Class

We want to make the number. We need to make the number. We’ve got to make the number. But all of this focus on the final score does nothing to help you put points on the board.

You can break out the spreadsheet and run the numbers as many ways as you can dream up. You can track your daily numbers, running query after query to see where you are now and how much ground you still need to cover. You can look at different scenarios running the “what if’s” to see how you might get to the number you need to make.

None of this has anything to do with selling and actually making your numbers. This isn’t math class. You aren’t being graded on your arithmetic; you’re being graded on your sales.

Play Until the Whistle Blows

You play the game until the whistle blows. The game doesn’t end until it ends. Focusing on the final score before then is a waste of time, a waste of energy, and says nothing about what will be the final score.

Instead of allowing the number to consume your time and energy, spend your time and energy playing the game, taking the actions and running the plays that may actually result in you opening opportunities, winning those opportunities, and putting something up on the board.

Time spent on focusing on the number is time that should be invested in selling.

You need to know where you are generally; that’s good enough. It’s the actions you take to get beyond where you are that count.

The Sales Manager’s Bane

Salespeople are guilty of spending their time looking at the scoreboard. But looking at the scoreboard is the sales manager’s bane, his undoing.

Do you need to know where you are now? Yes. Do you need to spend more time working backwards from your goal to where you are to figure out how to bridge that gap? No, you don’t.

You know what you need to.

You need to call the plays. You need to make sure the plays are being run as well as possible. You need to influence the action on the field to produce a result on the scoreboard.

Playing the game well has an effect on the scoreboard. Looking at the scoreboard has no effect on the field of play, except maybe to distract you.


Why are salespeople consumed with “figuring out” their numbers?

Beyond a general sense of where you are and what you have in the pipeline, what does the relentless checking on the number do to increase your sales numbers?

Why is the score so alluring, especially to sales managers?

How do you make the numbers improve? What part of that has anything to do with an obsessive focus on the scoreboard?

Have you ever seen a game that looked like it was won, only to have it turn the other way? How did that happen?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on July 25, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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