Umbrellas don’t make it rain. Just because the sun is out, doesn’t mean it’s warm outside. Just because America voted for Obama doesn’t mean we are a liberal country. Just because your numbers are off, doesn’t mean you have a shitty sales team. When trying to understand a problem, being able to differentiate between the cause OR a correlation is huge. Differentiating between cause and correlation makes solving problems very tricky. We often see a correlation as the cause and when that happens we focus on fixing the wrong things.
When we we’re not making quota, when our numbers are down, when prospects don’t call us back, when the pipeline is getting thin, we believe the problem is the sales team? After all, it’s their job to sell.
But, are the sales people really the cause?
Could the cause be a new competitive threat? Could it be a leading indicator of a declining economy? Could it be the marketing approach is no longer effective? Could it be the product has become stale. Could it be pricing? Could it be new technology on the horizon? Could it be the customer problem you solve no longer exits or is rapidly disappearing? Could the cause be something else?
When we assume the cause of declining revenue is the sales team, we start to fix the sales team. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. When we fix the corollaries we aren’t fixing the problem. We only want to fix the sales team when we KNOW they are the cause.
Problem solving is being able to find the cause of a problem and fixing it. When revenue is down, the best sales managers find the cause and don’t focus on the correlation’s. When working with clients, the best sales people help customers get to the cause of their problem and keep them from fixing the corollaries.
The only way to fix a real problem is to know the difference between causality and correlation. Do you know the difference?