Action expresses priorities

Last November, we staged the 2nd Sales Confidence live event. We were privileged to hear some of the best sales leaders in the SaaS industry speak. Everyone left inspired and motivated to act on what was said. Based on the speeches at the event, we’ve put together the Sales Confidence Skills Series. Even if you couldn’t be there, you can still share the inspiration.

Karen Mcallister

Our second speaker was Karen Mcallister. Karen is Senior Regional VP for Communications and Media at Salesforce. I’m sure Salesforce needs no introduction! Karen is in charge of the team that sells Salesforce into telecoms and media companies and was previously Sales Director at Oracle. The theme of Karen’s talk was ‘My Leadership Journey’. It was divided into 3 parts, where Karen shared 3 tips that have helped her achieve success. The first was ‘start with ‘why’’, and you can read our article on it here.

Karen’s third tip related to a quote from one of the most influential human beings in history.

‘Some years ago, my boss said this to me and I thought, ‘Oh my god. That man’s a genius.’ It turns out Mahatma Gandhi said it first! Action expresses priorities.’

‘To break it down, if Gandhi will let me paraphrase. If you say something is important as a leader, but don’t do anything about it. If you say something is important in your personal life, but don’t do anything about it. It probably isn’t really that important. You’re lying to yourself, or you have to revisit your priorities.’

Life’s too short

Let’s go into this idea a little deeper. Life is short. Too short. There’s not enough time to do even half the things we’d like to do in our lives. There’s not enough time to help everybody. Therefore, it’s human nature to prioritise things, taking action only on what’s important.

Anything that isn’t important gets put on the back burner, on the maybe pile. Afterthoughts.

The salesperson’s perspective

How does this quote apply to sales? Well, there are numerous examples.

Firstly, we prioritise the tasks we do as salespeople by their importance in our minds. Tasks that aren’t important to us, even if they are important to our manager and the rest of our team, we procrastinate on, or do reluctantly. Your manager may want you to make a certain amount of new business calls per day, but if you don’t see the value, you’ll put that particular task on the back burner.

If you’re in leadership, if your team hear you talking about something that is massively important to the business, but you don’t do anything about it, your team won’t trust you next time you tell them what’s important. It’s all about following through.

Nowhere is this principle more prevalent than in how we deal with our leads. The leads you believe are the most important, you give them the best service, you can’t do enough for them. The prospects you think are lightweight, you’ll get in touch with them only if there is nothing more important to do. Your actions express your priorities.

On the other hand…

Of course, the reverse is also true. Your prospects’ actions express their priorities too. Think about how your prospects respond to you. Are they thrilled to take your call, or do they shunt you off to voicemail?

How is the deal you’re working on progressing? If it’s stalling, it’s probably not a priority for the prospect.

The best salespeople can read these signs. It stops them having ‘happy ears’, clinging to hope against all evidence, and wasting time with people who will never buy.

Karen’s take

Back to the talk. Karen gave us examples of how her priorities are expressed within her actions at Salesforce.

What’s important to Karen, the things that she follows through on are:

  • Building trust – Karen’s customers trust Salesforce with important data for their business, so it’s important for Karen and her team to show that they are responsible in everything they do.
  • Equality – Karen believes that in a leadership role, it’s important to treat everybody equally and fairly. Nowhere is this more important than regarding pay rationalisation for women against men.
  • People – Karen believes that people are the #1 resource at Salesforce, as a result, she prioritises making time for her people. This relates back to Karen’s previous tip about being a multiplier rather than a diminisher.

How about you?

A lot of motivational advice relates to making every moment count. However, if you believe Gandhi’s quote, you’re subconsciously trying to do that anyway. For optimum benefit, when your actions express your priorities, make your priorities align with improving the state of the world in some small way.

Over to you now, what are the most important things to you at the moment? What are you doing to achieve those important goals? Leave us a comment below to let us know.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.