How to work with sales

The sales organization within any business almost always has a target on its back and with good reason as it is this organization at most businesses that has the clearest and most direct relationship with top-line revenue production.

This target appears to be getting bigger. According to data collected by Aberdeen Group in December 2010 in which 53 per cent of more than 1,500 business executives cited organic revenue growth (growth from new and existing customers) as a top business goal for 2011.

This pressure is further validated by Aberdeen Group's recent research on sales performance management. That research, which was based on survey responses from more than 530 sales executives from organizations around the world revealed insufficient growth in top-line revenue as the primary pressure facing Sales executives — see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Pressures Forcing Focus on Sales Performance Management

Source: Aberdeen Group, August 2010

To address these pressures, the top-performing sales organizations (defined as the top 20 per cent of aggregate responses from that research, based on current overall team attainment of sales quota, as well as year-over-year changes in average deal size-by-contract value and average sales cycle-by-time-to-close — referred to as Best-in-Class) are focused creating repeatable, desirable selling behavior within their team.

These top-performers understand the value of training their sales team in the consistent deployment of successful messaging and tactics.

They are nearly twice as likely as bottom-performing sales organizations to provide post-training reinforcement of the content. The strategy of driving repeatable behaviors among strong performers can be further captured and standardized by using assessment or measurement tools to understand pre and post-training sales rep performance metrics.

Duplicating the skill sets and characteristics of these individuals is supported by strategic sales performance management actions around getting new sales hires up and running quickly, and then ensuring they are efficient once trained — see Figure 2.

Figure 2: Strategies by Best-in-Class Sales Organizations to Address Pressures

Source: Aberdeen Group, August 2010

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