3 Things High Performing Sales Organizations Do Differently

3 Things High Performing Sales Organizations Do Differently
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High Performing Sales Organizations vs Standard Sales Team Performance
According to a recent CSO research report, only 46% of sales reps are meeting quota, and sales teams are losing ground on 94% of the key sales activities most associated with high sales performance.  How can companies be doing well if more than half of their reps are missing their targets and sales performance is so varied?

Apparently, sales leaders found ways, like relying more on existing customers, leaning heavily on star sellers, and putting more feet on the street to bulk up their revenues.

We know from sales leader simulation assessment data that relying more on existing customers makes sense.  Growing business at a current account is faster, more profitable, and easier than winning new business.  We also believe that it makes sense, at least in the short-term, to lean on top sales performers if they are treated and rewarded appropriately.

But hiring more salespeople is where we believe that the problems begin.  If you have a 46% success rate, then more than half of your new hires will not meet expectations.  When you calculate the cost of attracting, hiring, onboarding, developing, and letting go of half your sales force each year, the numbers just do not add up.  And from a sales culture perspective, it is not sustainable to rely too much on your top performers over the long haul.

What High Performing Sales Organizations Do Differently
In comparing more standard sales teams with those that are consistently on top, the research found three main factors that account for the success of high performing teams.  Here’s our take on all three:

  1. Customer Centricity
    First and foremost top performing sales teams keep their customers front and center. This does not surprise us.  Our organizational alignment research found that sales culture — how work gets done — accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  Sales teams that culturally strive for customer intimacy and measure their success based upon the success of their customers outperform their peers.

    To improve your customer centricity, focus on increasing your understanding of your customer’s business, anticipating and flexing to your customers’ needs, and creating a community of customer advocates to spread the word.

  2. Sales Process Alignment
    Next, the research pinpointed aligning your sales process with each customer’s buying process. This also makes sense to us.  The days are long gone when salespeople could dictate how buyers needed to buy.  Today’s buyers are more sophisticated and come armed with more leverage and data to get what they want and need.

    Similar to the being more customer centric, solution selling training today must teach sales reps how to be customer focused from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel.  The most effective sales reps adapt their selling journey to the customer’s buying path.  Rather than try to force the customer to follow their process, high performers are intimately connected to the steps the buyer must take on the way to a deal.

    They know who will be making the final decision, how the decision will be made, and what information is needed when.  Then they expertly escort their customer through their internal buying process to be successful.  That means being skillful at navigating often misaligned internal systems and challenging politics not only at your company, but also at your buyer’s company without placing a burden on the customer.

  3. Adding Value
    Not surprisingly, high performing sales reps offer unique perspectives and value-added insights. Hopefully this finding is not news to you.   Top salespeople act more like trusted advisors who have their customers’ best interests at heart and less like sellers who are interested mainly in closing the deal.

    Does your sales team add value at every client interaction and focus on helping their customers to succeed?

The Bottom Line
When you are looking to raise your sales team to the level of high performing sales organizations, ensure that your sales culture truly puts the customer first in a way that aligns with your sales strategy.  Any misalignment with how your clients measure success will lengthen your sales cycle, decrease your win rate, and put too much pressure on your top sales performers.

To learn more about better aligning your sales culture with your sales strategy, download How to Determine the Right Amount of Pressure to Get Results

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