In 2014, a research colleague and I analyzed a pivotal trend in the sales industry: the shift from field sales to inside sales. After taking a deep look at the findings, we found that nearly half of the organizations surveyed had made a shift to inside sales. We also uncovered considerable discrepancies between high-growth and average- or declining-growth sales teams.
So this year, Steve W. Martin, sales expert, USC professor and author of the “Heavy Hitter Sales” series and I decided to further investigate the attributes that are common among high-performing organizations. The new study, “The Sales Organization Performance Gap,” identified these four traits:
- Team mentality: One of the most significant findings was the team-based culture that the very best sales teams possess. Top organizations are focused on the team as a whole, rather than focusing on super-star sales performers. In fact, high-performing sales teams were twice as likely to describe themselves as a “cohesive group of like-minded individuals” than people at lower performing-organizations. In addition, individual talent was viewed as a lesser factor for sales success by the best teams, who were also less likely to have below average sales people.
- Aggressive goal setting: A common question that sales leaders, myself included, frequently struggle with is how high to set quota. This year, when we were going through the quota setting process, we called on our latest research. Our research found that your chances of hitting and achieving sales quota actually increase the more aggressive you get. The research shows that 64 percent of high-performing sales organizations set quotas 10 percent or higher above what they are responsible for.
- Decisive about termination: The rules of termination are delicate and pose a tricky dilemma for sales leaders. Our study verified that sales leaders should be very clear on expectations for the rep and be quicker to terminate low-performers. That said, there should always be some time for ramp up and onboarding that varies based on the complexity of the market and product. The study showed that 18 percent of high-performing organizations would terminate salespeople with poor performance after one quarter, compared to only 2 percent of average and 5 percent of underperforming organizations.
- Process-driven: There is a common myth in sales that only super stars can achieve quota, which leaves most sales reps feeling discouraged. To that point, sales leaders at high-performing organizations will document the processes of their best reps and implement those processes across the organization. High-performing organizations were almost twice as likely as underperforming organizations to describe their sales processes as “closely monitored” or strictly enforced or automated.” The study also found that high performing organizations ranked “disciplined sales process and systems usage” as the second most important factor separating great from good sales organizations.
The key takeaway from our research is that a high-performing sales team creates a culture that is focused on winning as a team.
Does your organization hold any other characteristics that are critical to building and growing an inside sales team?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About Winning Sales Teams
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