The Misconception of Quality and Quantity in Sales

# 47 February 2016

Quality and quantity are terms that sales organisations often use to describe their work. Quite often will the terms be polarised where you will get the impression that the choice is either/or.

Quantity means that the sales people have high activity levels, do a lot of customer calls, generate many business opportunities, and will close a high number of deals thanks to having a large number of opportunities. There is a strong focus on measuring and following up on activities.

Quality means that the sales people work with the right type of customers and the right type of business opportunities. The skillset of of the sales people is the focus and they will have the ability to win a large proportion of the deals.

To polarise the issue, where you must choose between either quality or quantity is however incorrect. They are not mutually exclusive. Productive sales organisations perform well in both of these aspects. The model below illustrates how these two attributes co-exist in different type of organisations.


Low activity combined with low quality in execution. In these organisations the sales effort is reactive and reduced to responding to incoming requests. These organisations will only survive where demand greatly exceeds supply or in monopolistic situations. When competition hardens they will struggle to survive.

These organisations have high activity levels when working the customer base, but without questioning the quality of the customer. The measure of success is a lot of customer calls. They may even visit customers too small to justify having a sales person calling on them. The business opportunities generated are not properly evaluated, and their closing percentage is low. But since they generate a lot of opportunities, they count on winning enough of them to keep going.

These organisations have a low tempo in working the customer base. They work with few customers and few business opportunities, on which they spend a lot of time. Their ability to break new ground and find new opportunities is limited. They make it a virtue to be quality focused which means they spend a lot of effort on the customers and opportunities the do have, rather than finding the ones they should have.

Productive sales organisations have both quality and quantity in they way they work.
Quality: Working with the right type of customers. Good processes to prioritise these and to secure a high skillset in working the right type of opportunities.
Quantity: Ensuring they have enough customers and enough business opportunities to work on. Ensuring they have enough activities – e.g. customer calls – to make this happen.