The difference between effectiveness and efficiency

Let’s start by clarifying the difference between two terms that are often used interchangeably; efficiency and effectiveness.

On the one hand, effectiveness is the level of results from the actions of people or systems. In other words, “doing the right things”. On the other hand, efficiency in the workplace is the time it takes to do something. In other words, “doing the things right”, which means doing them as fast as possible, as well as possible and with as little resources as possible.

Should you focus on effectiveness or efficiency in a business?

In my eyes, the main keyword necessary for building any business is the balance. Balance between resource usage in marketing and sales, and also balance in effectiveness and efficiency. Nevertheless, effectiveness should always come first and should be the priority of any professional. There is no point in optimising if you are doing it for the wrong things.

However, if you are in the world of VoIP platforms – or any other tools for that matter – you might notice that effectiveness is not the main thing you are paying attention to. And rightfully so. Any tool in itself is already a way of achieving a certain something, which means that the mere choice of using the tool is considered effectiveness. Since many VoIP platforms are very similar to each other as they provide the user with the same main functionality (voice communication), the focus should be on the efficiency. What this means is that VoIP providers should be thinking about how to provide the best possible product/service for their customers. The fastest and the best product/service, and with as little resources as possible.

Talking about effectiveness and efficiency in sales

If we are going to talk about sales, we should also mention the most important lesson from the consumer psychology: people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. And this is where the magic happens.

Hence, the steps of selling a VoIP platform are as follows:

  1. Understand why your consumer needs the tool, in this case, a VoIP platform (effectiveness).
  2. Understand how your tool differs from all the other tools (efficiency).
  3. Present to your customer how using your tool is going to benefit their lives.
Super Mario illustration
Image credit: Buffer

Maximizing results

Salespeople often fail at something that consumers already understand by intuition; we understand that if we want an excellent product fast, it will not be cheap. If we want a cheap product fast, it will not be an excellent one; and consequently, if we want an excellent product cheap, it will take time. In short, good, fast and cheap can never be found in the same product and we can only pick a combination of two “ingredients”. Keeping this in mind can also help us market our product in the right way to our customers. If we try to tell them we have all three “magic ingredients”, they will instinctively recognise us as being dishonest.