Seller performance is down, yet revenue attainment is up, according to the latest research from CSO Insights in “All That Glitters Is Not Gold: 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study.” While this may seem like an anomaly, the higher revenue attainment numbers reveal that sales organizations are doing one of two things (and likely both) to improve their numbers: relying on their top performers to bolster sales or making additional hires to boost their performance. Meanwhile, the decline in seller performance means that organizations are likely not investing in skills training or a common methodology, approaches that drive longer term positive effects on sales results.
To dig into the reasons underlying low seller performance numbers and take steps to improve them, sales leaders need to assess their current sales culture. Ask yourself these questions:
- How strong is the adoption of your sales technology stack or other sales operations tools?
- Do you use a data-driven hiring strategy or do your hiring managers rely on instinct to build their team?
- What kind of investments have you made in reinforcing your sales methodology through coaching or technology?
- Does your team operate as a single, aligned organization or as a group of individuals, each following their own random process to selling?
One tool to help you complete this assessment is our new diagnostic tool, the Sales Performance Meter.
Evaluate Your Sales Methodology and Processes
In the 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study, sales leaders reported that ineffective sales processes and methodology were the second most-debilitating hurdle to sales success. It’s likely that these inefficiencies are why sellers spend less than a third of their time selling and why managers spend twice as much time on internal work as they do on coaching their salespeople. When these processes are misaligned, sales teams may redo work that other team members have already done; they may also work at cross-purposes with each other. Either way, they aren’t working together toward their goal, leaving frontline sales reps to sort out for themselves how to win more deals and build stronger relationships with buyers. That puts more administrative tasks on their to-do list, not all of which will end up resulting in deals.
The cornerstone for greater productivity is a methodology that underpins all selling processes throughout an organization, encompassing marketing, sales and service. But before we dive deeper, let’s be clear on what we mean by “processes” and “methodology.” Sales processes make up a defined sequence of activities that enable sales professionals to build their business with new and existing customers. A methodology, on the other hand, shows sellers how to connect their sales processes to the buyer’s path; it helps them understand their customer and know what to do at every point in the buying journey, leading them to better results. Methodology is the “what and “why,” while processes are the “when.”
The Sales Performance Meter evaluates how well your sales management, operations and enablement align around a sales methodology. A proven methodology delivers meaningful results, because it puts the customer at the center of everything the organization does. Organizations with a structured, formal methodology achieve higher sales than those with a random or informal approach. That’s because a formal sales methodology, like Strategic SellingⓇ with Perspective, provides a common framework that’s scalable and translates into seller actions.
Look for Gaps in Your Sales Tools and Technology Stack
On average, sales organizations are already using 10 technology tools—and they’re planning to add at least another four this year, according to the 2018–2019 Sales Performance Report. But are these tools the right ones for their organization? Is the organization collecting data for the sake of data, or is it turning this data into useful insights that fuel sales opportunities? Most importantly, are these tools eating away at your salespeople’s precious selling time, requiring them to manually enter data instead of spending more time with their customers? Tools that add tedium to a salesperson’s day aren’t adding value.
The right tools to build sales reduce tedium, giving salespeople back the critical selling time they need. For example, a sales technology stack built on artificial intelligence can free up more time to build relationships. Analytics tools like Scout, which combine CRM data with a formal sales methodology, can offer predictive insights into which actions are most likely to move deals forward as well as which deals are the most likely to close.
The Sales Performance Meter can help you understand where the sales tools you have are adding value and where you have gaps to fill—as well as where you need to do additional training to ensure that these tools are as effective as possible.
The Sales Performance Meter Can Help You Build a Stronger Sales Culture
In only 10 minutes, the Sales Performance Meter offers immediate insights into your sales organization’s culture. It can tell you whether you have the technology, tools and training to support the continuous development of your sales professionals. The more value you deliver to your sales team, the greater value they return to you in terms of higher engagement, increased sales competency and lower attrition. And those benefits pay dividends when it comes to growing your relationships with buyers as well.
If you take the time to assess and thoughtfully fill the gaps in your sales organization, you’ll start to build a much stronger sales culture—one that pursues sales using the same proven, consistent methodology. An organization with a unified sales culture is better positioned to achieve its sales targets, is protected from economic headwinds and is better able to compete in the market.
There is no better time than now—before the next budget cycle closes and while the economy is still supporting additional investment in training and technology—to assess what you need to develop a winning sales culture in 2020.
To start down the path toward a world-class sales culture for your organization, analyze your performance with the Sales Performance Meter.