We know that there are clear drivers of a best-in-class sales team: good leadership, effective salespeople and a defined process that allows the team to consistently reach revenue goals.
Harvard Business Review Blogger Steve W. Martin recently surveyed 786 sales professionals, revealing more insight into what distinguishes top sales organizations from the rest.
He found more than a dozen differences, but there are three themes among his results we found to be most important.
Top sales organizations have structured sales processes. Their salespeople are managed to them and measured by them.
In Martin’s research, 50% of participants from high-performing sales organizations had sales processes that were “closely monitored, strictly enforced or automated." In contrast, 48% of salespeople from low-performing organizations had nonexistent or informal sales processes.
An effective sales process provides a vehicle to enforce discipline, repeatability, predictability and validation of progress throughout a sale. Most importantly, it allows for inspection and planning – in advance. Without it, you are merely guessing whether or not (1) opportunities will close and (2) if you’ll be able to deliver the forecast.
Martin’s research demonstrates the need for a high-level of accountability for your salespeople. Only 13% of participants in under-performing organizations agreed that they were held accountable for quota results.
Top sales organizations have a cadence and accountability around their sales process. That accountability is a key component to successful pipeline management. Your employees will be more successful if they know what’s expected, and there is an accurate way to measure those expectations.
Additional research from Aberdeen Group demonstrates the importance of accountability.
This Business Process Management Report shows that best-in-class companies are more likely to have a process to drive accountability. They develop key performance indicators that demonstrate how reps are maximizing value from their assigned territories.
As Martin’s research shows, they’re quicker to fire under-performers and they’re not afraid to raise quota. Raising the bar with your sales team is one step to driving high-performance.
However, you need to make sure you provide the tools they need to achieve a higher quota. It’s not about the what. It’s about the how. Don’t just raise the quota without ensuring your salespeople have the tools, processes and content to get there.
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