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For more than two decades, CSO Insights has conducted in-depth studies into the processes, practices and operational metrics that define selling. Today’s release of Running Up the Down Escalator: 2017 CSO Insights World-Class Sales Practices Report represents a high-water mark in those decades of research.

The report is the output of the World-Class Sales and Service Practices Study, and encompasses the very best of CSO Insights’ legacy studies for a penetrating and comprehensive presentation of the insights that sales and service leaders need now.

“Data uncovered in this report is relevant to anyone who makes or influences decisions about sales strategy or who needs to understand the factors that go into making such decisions,” said Seleste Lunsford, senior director of CSO Insights.

Buyers are getting better at buying, and sellers are struggling to keep up. This creates downward momentum: Levels of effort and innovation that once assured success are no longer sufficient. Sellers feel like they are “running up the down escalator” and the CSO Insights data shows shrinking quota attainment rates across all geographies and industries.

The report identifies the Top 12 best practices that distinguish world-class companies from their less successful competitors. These practices can be taught, applied and measured. Here they are presented in the context of the Sales Relationship Process (SRP) Matrix, a framework of customer relationships and sales processes that quantifies performance levels and offers a tool any sales organization can use to assess its current level and recognize the specific practices associated with reaching higher levels.

The study analyzed the impact of more than 60 practices on the SRP performance metrics: revenue plan attainment, quota attainment, wins, losses, no-decisions, as well as voluntary and involuntary turnover. The analysts looked at each behavior’s impact on performance in two ways. First, they measured how many performance metrics were impacted by each behavior. (The more, the better.) Second, they looked at those behaviors that had a statistically significant impact on performance.

Downward momentum can be overcome through a strategic and intentional approach, using the Miller Heiman Sales System as a roadmap that gives clear directions to both individual sellers and to the sales organization as a whole. It’s a comprehensive model that covers every facet of the sales function: People & Organization, Operations & Enablement, and Management Execution at the broadest level, and, with the customer always in mind, then extends to Create Opportunities, Manage Opportunities and Manage Relationships.

About CSO Insights

As CSO Insights is the research division of Miller Heiman Group, dedicated to improving the performance and productivity of complex B2B sales. The CSO Insights team of respected analysts provides sales leaders with the research, data, expertise, and best practices required to build sustainable strategies for sales performance improvement. CSO Insights’ annual sales effectiveness studies, along with its benchmarking capabilities, are industry standards for sales leaders seeking operational and behavioral insights into how to improve their sales performance and to gain holistic assessments of their selling and sales management efficacy. Annual research studies address sales and service best practices, sales enablement and sales performance optimization.

About Miller Heiman Group

Miller Heiman Group is one of the largest professional services providers in the world designed to help organizations sell more and service better. Many of the largest and most respected brands in the world work with Miller Heiman Group, which offers the broadest set of sales- and customer-service-based solutions in the market. With 63 offices globally, Miller Heiman Group has the breadth and depth to help every organization drive revenue through talent, training and technology. To learn more, visit our website. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+.