The Difference Between Simplification and Simplicity

If only it was this simple: Hire to a sales stereotype, give them a pitch and turn ’em loose. Sales experience – not necessary. You need critical thinkers preferably without a sales background.  How did the sales profession miss something so… simple? Or maybe it just looks that simple on the chalkboard.

Simplification has its roots in math, following strict rules. The purpose of simplification is to make something easier to understand. Who wouldn’t want that? Simplification done the right way is a useful process to reduce an existing matter to its essentials, stripping away everything superfluous and redundant, which requires some heavy duty critical thinking.

Unfortunately nowadays simplification is often performed by people without sales experience ignoring the above. Taking the fast track in this case leads to “Experience doesn’t matter anymore.” An excellent example what can happen with a serious topic – oversimplified. Leading people in the wrong direction. Creating more confusion than value. As a sales leader, you cannot afford to follow a misleading approach based on overhasty and wrong conclusions.

Simplicity is different, it’s a holistic approach.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
–Leonardo da Vinci

Simplicity is based on clarity, which comes from a complete understanding of the issue to be simplified. Applying simplicity correctly means to define the different elements of sales experience in the first place, such as knowledge in different areas, conversational, questioning and social skills, collaborative and competitive behaviors, attitude, business acumen, vertical knowledge and others. Simplicity would require to look deeply at your sales system and at the buying systems your organization has to deal with. Then, simplicity would require to analyze all dimensions from both perspectives, then synthesize both views before making conclusions.

Then – and this is the visible difference – simplicity creates a framework in the beginning how to look at the topic from different perspectives to make it easier to understand and to navigate a complex issue. Simplicity would probably come up with a different framework for transactional sales and for complex sales. Simplicity doesn’t allow that important dimensions are not considered at all. That’s exactly the trap with simplification, that right in the beginning, relevant dimensions are taken out of the equation – ironically in order to “simplify”.

As customers make their decisions differently, every time, because their situation is different – so do sales leaders. There are no silver bullets. Every sales organization’s challenges are specific. Every sales organization’s customers are different. The way how your specific customers want to engage with your sales organization is different as well.

Simplification is taking the fast track – which includes the danger to be wrong, not to add the value you possibly could.

Simplicity requires more thinking in the beginning to create a framework which helps people to navigate a complex issue really easily – but only to create the biggest possible value at the end.

Simplicity is pure and precise.
Simplicity strives for perfection.
Simplicity requires critical thinking.
Simplicity accepts no excuses.

This blog post was first published at  The Sales Thought Leader Blog.

Submit a Comment