Top Practices of Superior Sales Organizations

Customer Focus — Unwavering customer focus in selling is crucial to success. Successful selling organizations continually judge their performance through the eyes of the customer. It is not their ability to persuade that defines success, but it is their passionate commitment to involve the customer in every facet of the business. SELLING, or more appropriately stated, “the satisfaction of customer needs,” is the responsibility of everyone in your organization. Everyone touches the customer directly or indirectly. Everyone is a link in the chain of providing value to customers.

Anticipatory Leadership — Superior selling organizations shape their futures by being anticipatory and visionary. They are never satisfied with today’s performance. “Raising the bar” must be the primary objective of sales and service leadership.

Continuous Improvement and Learning — Superior selling organizations know that sales and service improvement are outcomes of deliberate, planned actions over time at all levels. They have come to understand that there are no quick fixes. Often, selling organizations focus on the BIG DEAL, or the champion seller who is given accolades for a particularly strong level of achievement. While promoting big deals or champion sellers can be healthy, long-term success depends more from both incremental and breakthrough improvements on the part of everyone than on spectacular events.

Superior Focus on People — High-performing selling organizations are meticulous in their recruiting and selection process as they understand that sales leadership begins with the hiring decision. They define the characteristics of superior individual performance, and seek men and women who display these competencies. They train relentlessly. They invest in the development of sales and service skills, and in systems support. They look to training not as an option, but as a fundamental process to communicate expectations and promote improvement. They understand that a focus on skill mastery is among the strongest investments an organization can make.

Speed, Tools, Technology — Success in competitive markets demands ever-shorter cycles for introduction of new or improved products and services. Speed and flexibility in responding to customers is a critical requirement for today’s selling organization. Winning selling organizations recognize that speed counts — that it is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. They study where time is spent on each step of the sales process as a basis for improving selling effectiveness. They eliminate constraints to enable the sales force to do things quicker and faster. They look at technology solutions that enhance the customer experience, improve individual productivity, and speed up the response to customer requests.

Rewards and Recognition Driven — In sales, compensation and recognition are powerful levers to influence change. Superior selling organizations reward based on performance and contribution, both at the individual level and at the team level. They monitor the compensation strategies of other companies, to ensure that they are able to attract and retain the caliber employee they need. They adapt their pay plan yearly to reflect the strategic changes in the organization.

Process Centered — In selling, process and methodology are key. Superior selling organizations clearly define and document their sales process to ensure everyone understands the most promising paths to success, and then execute rigorously to the process. They embrace one standard or a series of standards in how they go to market, and then train and develop to those standards.

Measurement — While profitable revenue may be the primary performance yardstick, world-class selling organizations study the factors that influence success with a customer and apply the appropriate measures to evaluate performance. They are passionate about customer metrics, results metrics, and process metrics. Like professional sports teams, they monitor performance by establishing standards and leading indicators to assess progress.

Results Focus — Without a doubt, tangible quantifiable results remain the primary objective of most sales forces. Nevertheless, world-class companies clearly recognize that results emanate from superior execution of the components of sales excellence.

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