With no offense to casual baseball fans; one thing that annoys me about them is that they only pay attention to the outcome of a play. They ignore the inputs. If a pitcher throws the ball and the batter misses it, the assumption is that it must have been a good pitch and cheers go through the stands. If the batter hits a ball off the end of his bat and it sneaks past the second baseman, fans cheer, "What a great hit!"
Those people that really know and understand baseball don't look at the same things that casual fans look at. They don't care if a batter hits a pitch - they care about whether the pitcher threw to the intended spot. Knowledgeable baseball people don't pay attention to whether the batter "got a base hit," instead they worry about whether his mechanics were solid and repeatable and if the ball was hit squarely.
Knowledgable baseball people - just like knowledgeable salespeople - know they only control a small portion of the end result. They realize that they can do things right (hit the ball squarely) and get a bad result (end in an out), or they can do things poorly (throw a pitch to the wrong spot) and get a good result (the batter misses). What they want is a repeatable process that maximizes the probability of success - on a consistent basis.
I often advise sales managers that they need to focus on efforts every bit as much as outcomes. An effective sales system is far more than "just making sales." Successful selling, like baseball, is very complex. Circumstances are constantly changing, and cause and effect are no easily identified.
The goal of an effective sales process is to maximize the probability of consistent, sustainable success. It requires truly understanding the inputs (or mechanics) that contribute to success. Management, monitoring and rewards systems must be put in place based upon those inputs. Sure, sales are important; but how you are getting the sale is equally so.