Been working on a couple client projects lately that required analyzing and straightening out sales data, and it brought to mind something that is often missing when management looks at sales. Mitch and I (and others at CMG) come originally out of the computer industry (Mitch from semiconductors, me from systems), and we always knew that sales numbers weren’t the most important measure of…well, what sales numbers really meant. Huh? We knew that this period’s sales weren’t as important as the number of “design wins” we has made that period, because design wins meant that our products would now be sold with every unit that our customer had designed them into. For example: getting your CPU designed into the next generation of iPhone meant almost no sales this period, but lots down the line.
Most companies have a similar measure, an analogous sub-set of raw sales data, that they out to be looking at when they review sales every quarter, and decide on incentive schemes for the sales force. Many companies, however, don’t.