Quality ALWAYS wins in sales. Here’s why.


My key to success over the last 20 years in sales can often be boiled down to just one thing: “If you do the right “things” and execute well on the points that matter most, results will follow.”


It hasn’t let me down yet – this mindset has helped me crush my quotas in every sales role I’ve ever had and it’s been the driving force to ATP’s growth from day one (it’s why some of our clients have literally fought with their board to work with us).


That said, this is a hill I’ll gladly die on: whether you’re a founder or salesperson, a quality-driven mindset is the key to moving up and to the right.


I’m not saying that quantity doesn’t have a place in sales. It does.


And of course — “quality” means different things to different market segmentations and sales roles… the needs of an SMB client will not be the same at the enterprise level and what quality looks like for a BDR is way different than for an enterprise level sales person.


But I am saying, no matter what market segment you’re playing in (SMB, Enterprise, etc.), quality should come first (and enterprise sales DEMANDS it).


Here’s why.


Focusing on quality makes you more valuable.


Value (in the form of “results delivered”) is the only thing people pay for in business. But in my experience, many people don’t know where it actually comes from or how to truly create it.


Sure, a good product is one source, but a lot of products are good and still fall short of expectations. So what makes the difference for the ones that don’t?


The link above holds a key reason. It’s an article about Trello, a digital “sticky note” app that is incredibly useful in nearly all areas of life and business for organizing ideas. Sounds like a winner right?


It could have been the next $1 billion SaaS product. But instead, it sold for just $425 million (side note: that’s still pretty awesome).


That’s because it’s capabilities we’re actually too broad/shallow to make it an exceptionally powerful solution for any particular market. It didn’t have the depth that any customer segment needed to command the $1 billion price tag, and the leadership didn’t iterate to narrow it down.


Creating value is so much more about doing a single thing flawlessly for a certain niche than it is about doing a something “well enough” for everyone. A product with a narrow focus but a big impact will always skyrocket a lot quicker than one that has a mediocre impact across every market.


That’s the same reason quality is way more important in sales than quantity: the better a salesperson can meet the needs of a single customer to support their journey, the more valuable they become to them.


For example: one of the biggest reasons I thrived in my HR Tech sales career was because I had been on the other side of the table and understood their lives/pain points. As a result, I was able to ask the questions that helped me craft the perfect solutions to their problems rather than taking a “rinse and repeat”, numbers-based, “only to pad my wallet” approach.


If you take the time to do each deal the best you possibly can, you’ll actually know why something isn’t working if it doesn’t go through. Which is incredibly important information to have for iterating on your product or improving your sales strategy (i.e. to drive the value up).  


Bottom line: if you want to make you or your product more valuable, slow down and go DEEPER with your sales process.


Bonus: Taking the time to find a creative solution with each customer will also keep you sharp and learning to be the best version of yourself you can be.


Focusing on quality helps you grow sustainably.


When rock climbers start to work their way up a cliff, they do so in a very systematic fashion: they anchor themselves on a hold using one side of their body before using the other to reach up to the next.


Growing a sustainable revenue stream works exactly the same way.


Think about this: would you rather have 5 customers that love what you do so much they want to stick with you for the long haul and grow or 10 customers who will bail inside of the first year?  


I know what I would choose. I’ll take the customers that love what I offer so much they want to stick around!


REMEMBER, it’s a heck of a lot easier to covet and nurture what you fought so hard for in the first place than it is to get new business (in fact, studies have shown it’s 5x-19x more expensive to find new customers than to get repeat business from existing customers).  


That’s why a quality-driven mindset is the key to creating consistent, sustainable year over year revenue growth: without loyal customers who want to buy from you every year/month/quarter, you won’t have solid enough footing to grow upward… you’ll be too busy trying to “reclimb each section of the wall”.


If you want to set the proper foundation for scaling your business or revenue, start by developing a handful of extremely loyal customers and adding one more at a time. Eventually you’ll have a mountain you can use as a foundation to get to the next level.


Focusing on quality creates meaningful engagements with the right people.


As human beings, we have a hard-wired tendency to hang out with those that are most similar to us. The cool thing is, we can use that to our advantage in sales if we focus on executing each deal to perfection.


Just think about the last time you found a great restaurant where the service and food were impeccable. Did you tell a friend who you thought would like it too?


If we really do an amazing job with just a few of our customers, word is going to get out. People WILL talk.


But they’re not going to tell their network about you if you’re not memorable. Or, they won’t have many good things to say if you do come up in conversation – and who wants that?!


Referrals can seriously cut down on the amount of outbound work you need to do as a sales person/team. And the lifetime value for a new referral customer is 16% higher than non-referrals, so don’t underestimate them.


Treat each deal like it’s the only deal, and get them coming to you.


Wrapping this up…


Prioritizing quality just boils down to one of the oldest mindsets in the book: the 80/20 rule. If you’re a salesperson who wants to make sure you have a lasting, successful career in sales, or if you’re a founder who wants to lead a remarkable team, focus on finding and executing to perfection with that 20%.


You don’t have to please everyone… just the right people. It’s like building a house — the stronger the foundation the better the house will stand for the long-haul. You can always scale to absurdity later, once you’ve laid the foundation (or lay an adjacent foundation to scale into a new market).  


Sales advice that works, in your inbox.

No spam, no pitches. Just real insights like these that have helped us win at sales and recruiting over the last 20 years via email each week.


Read more of my articles:


3 out of 4 sales people are mediocre at best. Here’s how to be the 1 that’s killing it.


Times have changed: How to search for a sales role in 2017


The 3 best pieces of sales advice I’ve ever received.


Why relationships are the key to success in sales (and how to build them using social media).