5 Key Takeaways from Our Top-Performing Sales Organization Research

Last updated: 04-14-2020

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5 Key Takeaways from Our Top-Performing Sales Organization Research

It’s never been more important for your sales organization to be firing on all thrusters. As buyers are tightening their purse strings and uncertainty in both health and economic spheres are plaguing companies, you need an optimized sales organization.

In our Top-Performing Sales Organization research, we studied what the organizations with the highest win rates, revenue growth, and sales goal achievement do differently that allow them to achieve these results.

While the Top-Performing Sales Organization study yielded a trove of fascinating results, the following five points stand out as highlights.

The differences in proposal win rates between performance groups were large and surprising. Elite Performers have a win rate of 73%, Top Performers 62%, and The Rest only 40%. For those looking to make the financial impact case of getting to the next level in your sales organization maturity, focus on win rate. Improving win rate has a tremendous impact on your company’s sales results. Here’s an example illustrating the win rate difference.

We asked whether respondents agreed that “Our sales organization focuses on driving maximum value for the customer.” Elite almost universally agreed (91%), as did Top Performers (81%). Only 61% of The Rest agreed. We also asked whether “Company leaders prioritize developing sellers to be as valuable as possible to buyers.” While the vast majority of Elite and Top Performers agreed, only 39% of The Rest agreed. Company Leaders Prioritize Developing Sellers to Be as Valuable to Buyers as Possible The lack of focus on value-based selling in The Rest, which represents 80% of respondents, is startling. In today’s economic crisis, it’s never been more important for sellers to provide value to their customers. This data should serve as a wake-up call to leadership to make a change.

Sales training effectiveness is atrociously low in The Rest (only 14% extremely or very effective) compared to Elite Performers (51%) and Top Performers (30%). Top Performers are also 63% more likely to have an excellent or good investment in sales training. Only 27% of The Rest have an excellent or good investment. Across skill areas, such as driving and winning sales opportunities, core and advanced consultative selling, filling the pipeline, driving account growth, and more, The Rest have significant skill deficits. In fact, only 3 in 10 of The Rest agree that sales managers have the skills they need to manage and coach sellers. This means that if you line up 10 sales managers, respondents believe 7 of them wouldn’t have the skills to do their jobs effectively. With sellers moving remote and working from home, you need effective virtual learning for both sellers and sales managers to upskill your teams and help them deal with the challenging environment they now face.

It’s 5 to 7 times less expensive, and more profitable, to build additional business with existing accounts than it is to acquire new ones. The #1 factor with the greatest separation between Top Performers (61%) and The Rest (32%) is “Our sales organization is effective a maximizing sales to existing accounts." Based on our research, it appears that organizations that are effective at strategic account management and growth do, indeed, enjoy stronger business results. It’s never been more important to focus on your strategic accounts. Look for accounts and industries that are poised to grow in the current environment, or are future-focused, beyond the current crisis.

We studied both leadership’s prioritization of selling and sales force excellence, and leadership’s ability to execute. Both correlate significantly to top sales performance, with the Top and Elite Performers scoring much higher than The Rest. In fact, only 51% of The Rest agree that when leaders set a priority, it gets done, versus 69% of Top Performers. It’s no surprise: the rigor and investment leadership allocates to sales performance makes a difference in results. Sales organizations that are agile and can rapidly adapt to the new and changing environment are the ones that are most likely to survive and thrive.

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