Every organization knows who their top performers are. A simple stack ranking of revenue or quota attainment shows which sales professionals are successful. The more difficult question to answer is, Why? To drive sustainable World-Class Sales Performance, sales leaders must be able to identify and promote the behaviors and activities that drive positive outcomes.
The results from the 2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study demonstrate how important it is for organizations to understand why top performers are successful. In the study, 92 percent of World-Class Sales Performers said they knew why their top performers were successful as compared to only 41 percent of All Respondents.
Knowing What Works
According to Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer for MHI Research Institute, “Repeatable, sustainable performance and revenue growth require the sales organization to know which customer management strategies work, which messages connect with the customer’s concept of value, and what type of knowledge can best be used to identify and win business as well as manage the customer relationship successfully.”
This knowledge doesn’t come naturally, especially in a sales culture where individual performance is recognized and rewarded. Sales technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) are essential, as they provide a system of record for the behaviors and activities of top performers. This is one of the reasons why high levels of CRM and SFA usage have such a positive impact on performance. Other vital technologies include tools such as knowledge management systems and collaboration platforms that allow top performers to share their strategies and best practices with other professionals in the organization.
To leverage their success, top performers will need to adopt new behaviors as well. “Top performers are accustomed to being lone wolves, and many organizations reward that sort of behavior by not focusing on how their top performers sell so long as they make their numbers,” says Galvin. “Changing the organization’s culture will require leadership to find ways to reward collaboration and mentoring from those who are the most successful.”
There’s an old adage that says to be successful, one has to know what success looks like. In sales, you can’t manage results. You can only measure them. Therefore, knowing what success looks like must go beyond a set of metrics focused on results to include a deep understanding of the behaviors and activities that drive those results.
Credits: Miller Heiman