Understanding the Behaviors That Drive Sales Success

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Top sales performers must share best practices and strategic insights with the entire organization so all roles may align with their proven approaches to winning.
Sales

Because sales remains increasingly competitive, successful organizations must collaborate to cultivate an internal culture of high performance. But, as salespeople and sales organizations push back against the external forces that often hinder their ability to win, top performers must convey their experiences and knowledge to the entire team in an effort to align behaviors and enhance strategy.

The MHI Research Institute's "2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study" polled 1,155 respondents to measure and analyze the behaviors, attributes, and performance of world-class sales organizations as they compare to all other sales organizations. MHI defines world-class sales organizations by assessing the three attributes that act as the cornerstones for sales performance culture:

  1. Customer Core: How the organization connects and engages with customers.
  2. Collaborative Culture: How people within the organization work together and with customers.
  3. Calibrated for Success: How the organization measures, recognizes, and rewards its salespeople.

The following statistics explore how world-class organizations compare to all other sales organizations, highlighting how these top performers excel in an effort to demonstrate what laggards can do to improve:

  • Ninety-three percent of world-class sales performers clearly understand their customers' issues before proposing a solution, as compared to 48 percent of all respondents, for these sales professionals offer a formalized value proposition that's compelling to their prospects (92 percent versus 42 percent respectively).
  • World-class sales performers are also more likely to align sales and marketing to meet customer desires and needs (91 percent versus 38 percent).
  • Overall, world-class sales performers are more effective than when it comes to allocating the right resources to pursue large deals (93 percent versus 36 percent).
  • Said world-class sales performers are also more likely to collaborate across departments to manage strategic accounts (94 percent versus 43 percent) and jointly set long-term objectives with these strategic accounts (87 percent versus 34 percent) than all respondents.
  • While world-class sales performers better understand why their top performers are successful (92 percent versus 41 percent), these leaders also claim that the management team effectively helps the sales team advance opportunities (96 percent versus 43 percent).
  • Many top sales performers (71 percent) work for businesses that align their sales compensation policies with companywide goals and objectives.
  • World-class sales teams consistently reply upon their company's own knowledge management system as the single source for collateral and information (71 percent versus 23 percent), with the majority boasting highly effective CRM systems that facilitate cross-departmental, face-to-face teamwork (61 percent versus 23 percent).

Key takeaway: Before companies can progress to the next level of sales success, their entire organizations must learn from the habits and behaviors of their top performers. World-class sales performers (89 percent) and all respondents (29 percent) work for organizations that leverage the best practices of their leading sellers to improve their entire workforce, as these companies recognize that they must understand why these top performers are so successful before applying these lessons to every area of the enterprise. The why drives the how, thereby teaching staff across departments how said strategies can enhance their own roles. While many salespeople learn best by doing, examples and best practices allow less experienced employees access to the knowledge they need to gain the advantage within the market, for collaboration and community lay an effective foundation for continued growth and success.

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EXPERT OPINION