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What's the difference - KPIs vs activity?

Office table multiple people exchanging paperwork

In sales, KPIs are usually measured as units of sales “activities”. How many times did you pick up the phone? How many meetings did you schedule? How many meetings did you log in your CRM? How many demos have you done?

But have you ever stopped to consider the nuance of the word “activity”?

In day-to-day life, an activity is something we engage in lightheartedly—maybe to pass the time—almost like a hobby, or playing in the sandbox.

The problem with the word “activity” is that it completely neglects the most powerful capability within you: intention.

The word “activity” implies something you just kinda wind up doing. It implies you’re filling up your time in order to create the illusion of productivity.

We know you can’t control how many deals you close today, but you can control how many activities you engage in. The question is, is your team engaging in those activities just to check a box?

What if you replaced the word “activities” with “intentional actions”?

For example, giving a demo to an unqualified opportunity is just an activity meant to check a box so that leadership knows you’re working.

Instead, giving a demo to a qualified opportunity is an intentional action that could very likely lead to a sale.

An action is something you do with intention. An action has a clearly intended outcome. An action has clarity of purpose.

Help your team shift from activities to intentional actions

Ok, maybe we can't change the sales lexicon overnight. And one could easily say that it's just semantics anyway.

But hopefully the distinction between activities and actions has you thinking about how to bring more intention into your team's endeavors.

In order to do this, have the team ask themselves:

  • Am I doing this just to check a box, or is this an action that is likely to produce a desired outcome?

  • If no one was looking over my shoulder, would I still do this?

  • Will I feel busy doing this—or will I feel impactful?

  • Is this the best use of my time and energy in this moment?

  • What are the most intentional actions that will align with my ultimate goals?

Maximizing the Law of Averages

Yes, the Law of Averages tells us that if we just keep picking up the phone and having all those meetings, we will naturally advance closer to our goals. But when time and energy are at a premium, wouldn’t you want your team to ensure the highest ROI for their efforts?

At the end of the day, what we all want is improved outcomes, not more points racked up on a sales activity scorecard.

"KPI vs Activity"



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