Strategic and Tactical – How not to confuse activity with results.

Original Post: On December 27, 2010, in Features, by Bob Davis

I was thinking the other day about my consulting practice and what others are doing in the space. I was wondering what I do that keeps my clients engaged (and paying my invoices!) The answer is that I provide a sales strategy that works and tactical advice along the way dependent on what is going on in the sales pipeline. Other trainers do a lot more tactical stuff… I’m more strategic I think.

So what the hell does that mean?  What is the difference between tactical and strategic? Now the truth is that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so for that answer I turned to someone a bunch smarter than me… my wife! (it’s way true).  She said think of it this way.  During a war, there is a strategy set by leaders with an overall goal in mind.  Tactics are the individual actions necessary to carry out the strategy and move you incrementally towards that goal.  Tactics are the substance of strategy and require solid management. Ah ha!

Sometimes I tell my clients that they need to be careful not to confuse the activity with results. Very likely they are confusing the tactics with the strategy. Are we arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? How do we keep from getting caught in this dilemma? Simply, by keeping a keen eye on the strategy with incremental key measurements towards the goal and then adjusting and training around the tactics that support it. All of the best tactics in the world won’t get you there with a flawed strategy. A simple sales strategy defines and measures the tactics that create a successful outcome, not the other way around.

Bob Davis is the owner of simple.sales.strategy in Austin, TX providing sales training and holding sales people accountable to a proven, systematic sales system. He can be reached at 512.658.9500 or